What should I do in the event of a chemical emergency?

Sheltering-in-place is considered to be a proven method for protecting yourself and your family in the event of a chemical emergency. As soon as you hear a warning or become aware of a situation, and there is no order to evacuate, do the following:

  1. Go quickly inside the nearest building. Bring pets inside.

  2. Close all windows and doors.

  3. Turn off all air conditioning and heating systems. Additionally, place masking tape and/or wet towels along the base of doors and window sills to prevent entrance of atmospheric gases.

  4. Put out fire completely and close off fireplace.

  5. If you are in a vehicle and the release is visible, turn off all air conditioning and outside air, close windows, and avoid going through the visible cloud by turning onto a side street. Otherwise, stop and seek shelter inside a building.

  6. Turn on your radio or television. Public announcements concerning specific emergency procedures, as well as all clear signals, will be broadcast by regional radio and television stations. 

  7. Do not try to pick up your children from school.  The presence of parents searching for children only causes confusion and delays. Media broadcasts will inform parents whether their school-age children have been taken to an evacuation center and its location.

  8. Do not tie up telephone lines. Fire officials, Police officials and involved businesses may need every available telephone line to initiate emergency procedures. Use the telephone only when absolutely necessary.

  9. If an evacuation is ordered by fire or police authorities, follow their instructions. Otherwise, shelter-in-place.

  10. If you have trouble breathing, place a wet cloth over your nose and mouth and breathe through it.

  11. Stay indoors and wait for the all clear signal.


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