Hazardous materials incidents

Hazardous materials are in a form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons and radioactive materials. Hazards may occur during production, storage, transport, usage or disposal. You, your family or your workplace might be put at risk if a chemical is going to be used inappropriately or released in harmful quantities into the environment.


Instructions about what can be done to protect yourself, your family and property from the effects of hazardous materials incidents:

• Design a Family emergency plan
• Find out how to operate the house’s ventilation system
• Choose an evacuation point


Listen to the local radio and television in order to possess specific pieces of information and then, follow them. Remember that some toxic chemicals are odorless.

If you have been asked to evacuate:
• Do it immediately
• Pay attention to the radio and television information to have information about the roads’ conditions, temporary shelters and procedures
• If there’s any time left, minimalize the house’s pollution – close the windows, doors and vents
• Carry your evacuation backpack
• If possible, help your neighbors that may need help, especially older, disabled people and children

If you’re outside:
• Stand uphill and upwind. Try to move at least 1 km from the danger zone
• Don’t enter or touch spilled liquids, airborne fogs or condensed solid chemical deposits. Try not to inhale gases, vapors or smoke. If possible, cover your mouth with a cloth or mask when leaving the area
• Stay away from accident victims until the hazardous material is identified

If you’re in a vehicle:
• Stop driving and look for a shelter in a building
• If you’re forced to stay in the car, close the windows and vents, turn off the air conditioner and heating

If you have been asked to stay indoor:
• Enter a previously selected shelter
• Bring animals with you
• Close and lock all external doors and windows. Close the vents, fireplace dampers and as many interior doors as possible
• Use wet towels, plastic film, insulation tape, wax paper or aluminum foil to seal the gaps under and around:
o Doors and windows
o Air conditioners
o Exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens
• Make sure that outside air isn’t sucked into the building
• If gas or fumes have entered the building, take a shallow breath through a cloth or towel
• Avoid food or drink that may be contaminated


• Listen to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information
• Act quickly if you’re in contact with hazardous chemicals or have been exposed to them
• Follow local authorities’ instructions on decontamination
• Get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible if you have unusual symptoms
• Place removed clothing and footwear in tightly closed containers
• Inform anyone who contacts you that you may be exposed to a toxic substance
• Return home when the authorities have decided that it’s safe to do so. Open windows and vents and turn on the fans to provide ventilation
• Possess, from your local authorities, information about how to clean up the land and property
• Report any remaining fumes or other hazards to the emergency services