|People who may have come into
contact with a biological or chemical agent may need to
go through a decontamination procedure and receive
medical attention. Listen to the advice of local
officials on the radio or television to determine what
steps you will need to take to protect yourself and your
family. As emergency services will likely be
overwhelmed, only call 9-1-1 about life-threatening
If local authorities ask you to leave your home, they
have a good reason to make this request, and you should
heed the advice immediately. Listen to your radio or
television and follow the instructions of local
emergency officials and keep these simple tips in mind:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and sturdy
shoes so you can be protected as much as possible.
- Take your disaster supplies kit.
- Take your pets with you. Because pets are not
permitted in public shelters, follow your plan to go
to a relative's or friend's home, or find a
- Lock your home.
- Use travel routes specified by local
authorities. Don't use shortcuts because certain
areas may be impassable or dangerous.
- Listen to local authorities.
If you are advised by local officials to "shelter in
place," what they mean is for you to remain inside your
home or office and protect yourself there.
Exposure to Chemicals
- Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
- Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning
systems. Close the fireplace damper.
- Get your disaster supplies kit, and make sure
the radio is working.
- Go to an interior room without windows that's
above ground level.
- Using duct tape, seal all cracks around the door
and any vents into the room.
- Keep listening to your radio or television until
you are told all is safe or you are told to
- Local officials may call for evacuation in
specific areas at greatest risk in your community.
may be exposed to a chemical in three ways:
- Breathing the chemical
- Swallowing contaminated food, water or
- Touching the chemical, or coming into contact
with clothing or things that have touched the
Remember, you may be exposed to chemicals even though
you may not be able to see or smell anything unusual.
Children and Poisoning
The most common home chemical emergencies involve small
children eating medicines. Experts in the field of
chemical manufacturing suggest taking hazardous
materials out of sight could eliminate up to 75 percent
of all poisoning of small children.
Keep all medicines, cosmetics, cleaning products and
other household chemicals out of sight and out of reach
If your child should eat or drink a non-food
substance, find any containers immediately and take them
to the phone. Call the
Control Center (1.800.222.1222) or 9-1-1.
Follow their instructions carefully. Often the first aid
advice found on containers may not be appropriate. So,
do not give anything by mouth until you have been
advised by medical professionals.