Hazardous Materials & LEPC
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Individual Safety

In your home:  Many common household products contain hazardous substances.  What makes a product hazardous? One or more of the following properties:
  • Flammable/combustible - can be easily set on fire
  • Explosive/reactive - can detonate or explode through exposure to heat, sudden shock, pressure or incompatible substances
  • Corrosive - Chemical action can burn and destroy living tissues or other materials when brought in contact
  • Toxic - Capable of causing injury or death through ingestion, inhalation or skin absorption.  Some toxic substances cause cancer, genetic mutations and fetal harm.
Read product labels before purchasing.  Look for safer alternatives or buy the least hazardous product.  Do not rely on the word "nontoxic" on a product's label; it can still contain hazardous ingredients.

At work: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers.  All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.

There are generally two options with a hazardous materials spill/leak: shelter-in-place or evacuate.  First responders will make that determination and spread the message via a public alert message on radio, television, etc.

  • Stay calm
  • Go indoors immediately and stay indoors.Close all windows and doors, turn off all ventilation systems and close fireplace dampers
  • Bring all family members and pets to a safe room and seal all windows and doors with tape or wet towels
  • Listen to a radio, TV, or All-Hazards Weather Radio for further instructions
  • Wait for the “ALL CLEAR” by public safety officials
You should air out your home once you receive the all clear.

  • Stay calm.
  • Listen carefully to evacuation instructions.
  • Bring an ID, money, medicines, etc. If appropriate, baby food, diapers, and formula.
  • Most public shelters will NOT allow pets; however, your home is not safe for them either. Prepare in advance for a place that will accept them such as family/friends in another area.
  • Leave Immediately. Follow evacuation instructions exactly.
You will be directed by public safety personnel to the nearest safe shelter until it is safe to return to your home.

See our "Preparedness" pages for detailed information on disaster supply kits, All-Hazards NOAA Weather Radio, and planning for functional needs persons, and pets.