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Emergency Guide Hazardous Materials Emergency

Table of Contents

Part II: Natural Disasters and Public Emergencies

Hazardous Materials Emergency

Hazardous materials come in four forms:
  • Explosives
  • Flammable and Combustible Substances
  • Poisons
  • Radioactive Materials
During a Hazardous Materials Emergency
  • If possible, leave the affected area immediately in the direction upwind from the source
  • If leaving safely is not possible, get indoors immediately and shelter-in-place.  Do not leave the safety of shelter to assist others outdoors
  • Follow the instructions given by university officials
If instructed to evacuate:
  • Do so immediately
  • If available, monitor local broadcast media for emergency information on:
    • evacuation routes
    • temporary shelters
    • procedures to follow
  • Follow the routes given by university, and other authorities – shortcuts and other routes may not be safe
  • Carpool with others to minimize traffic congestion
  • Assist those in need (children, elderly, disabled, persons without transportation)
If outside:
  • Stay upwind, upstream, and uphill
  • Try to go at least one-half mile from the source
  • Avoid contact with spilled liquids, airborne mists, or condensed solid chemical deposits
  • Avoid inhaling gases, fumes, and smoke covering the nose and mouth with cloth, if possible
  • Avoid contact with exposed individuals until the hazardous material has been identified and interpersonal contact determined safe.
If in a motor vehicle:
  • Stop and seek shelter indoors
  • If leaving the vehicle safely is not possible, close the windows and vents and keep the air conditioning and heater fan off.
If indoors, shelter-in-place:
  • Close and lock all exterior doors and windows
  • Turn off air conditioners and ventilation systems
  • Seal off air conditioners
  • Seal the gap between the doors and the door frames with plastic sheeting and duct tape or a wet towel
  • Seal the gap between the windows and window frames similarly
  • If gas or vapors enter the building, take shallow breaths through a towel or cloth
  • Avoid eating or drinking potentially contaminated substances
  • When the emergency conditions have ended, ventilate the shelter with fresh air
Precautions for Exposure
If exposed to hazardous chemicals:
  • Follow decontamination instructions from local authorities
  • Authorities may advise to shower thoroughly or to avoid contact with water and follow another procedure
  • If experiencing symptoms of exposure, seek immediate medical attention
  • Place contaminated clothing and shoes in tightly sealed containers avoiding contact with other items
  • Advise others with whom personal contact was made of the exposure so that they can also take precautions or seek medical treatment
Additional information is available on the following website: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration at http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/