In the event of a major chemical emergency, you will be notified by authorities. To get your attention, officials may drive by and give instructions over a loud speaker or come to your door. Listen carefully to radio or television emergency alert stations (EAS), and strictly follow instructions. Your life could depend on it.
Some chemicals that are safe, and even helpful in small amounts, can be harmful in larger qualities or under certain conditions. Chemical accidents can occur anywhere, including your home. A major chemical emergency can release a hazardous amount of a chemical into the environment. These accidents sometimes result in a fire or explosion. While many chemicals have a distinct odor, many times you cannot see or smell anything unusual.
You could be exposed to a chemical in three ways:
- Breathing the chemical.
- Swallowing contaminated food, water, or medication
- Absorbing the chemical through your skin, or coming into contact with clothing or things that have touched the chemical.
What You and Your Family Can Do:
- Monitor a NOAA Weather Radio signal to obtain the latest forecasts and warnings.
- Make sure the radio receiver has a battery backup.
- NWS warnings are broadcast on commercial radio and TV stations as well as cable TV channels.
- Know the county you live in. Severe weather watches and warnings are issued on a county basis.
- Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent.
- Stay off the water if a thunderstorm approaches.
- If a storm is approaching, seek sturdy shelter.
What to do and take should your family be evacuated:
- Clothing for a week
- Prescribed or necessary medication and glasses.
- Important papers and purse or wallet, credit cards, deeds, and checks
- Personal and toiletry articles
- Special dietary items such as infant formula
- Bring books, cards or games for entertainment
- Household pets should be evacuated. You are responsible for the care and shelter of the animal. Pets are not allowed in public shelters.
- Lock doors, shut windows and close blinds and draperies. Prepare your home like you were going on vacation.
- Notify family and friends about what is happening and where you plan to stay
- Move quickly and calmly
If you are ordered to stay indoors or “shelter in place” follow these tips:
- Close all doors and windows
- Do not evacuate your home
- Turn off air conditioners, furnaces, ventilation fans and other air intakes
- Listen to the radio for further instructions