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What You Need to Know
What happens if there is an accidental spill or leak of toxic chemicals on a transportation route or from a fixed facility? This brochure provides some information that will be helpful to anyone who may be affected by such an event. Notification procedures, what to expect, and special procedures in the event of an evacuation order are important to an appropriate response in an emergency. Please keep this brochure handy.
You will be provided information to help safeguard health and property. This information may require evacuation from your home or what is called sheltering in place.
An evacuation may be ordered if the community is threatened and there is time to evacuate safely. Depending on the scope of the incident, public announcements will also be made on local radio and television stations and official vehicles (police, fire & rescue) will travel in the affected area alerting residents. In the event of a local emergency, you can anticipate a knock on the door, a phone call with an automated message or an announcement by loud speaker in your streets. You will be given instructions by a uniformed member of public safety. Upon notification of an impending or immediate emergency:
- Stay Calm
- Watch or Listen to Your Local Television or Radio Station
- Follow Directions
Shelter In Place
If local officials advise you to “shelter in place”, they mean for you to remain indoors and protect yourself there. Take your children and pets indoors immediately. Get your Disaster Supply Kit, and make sure the radio is working. Go to an interior room without any windows that is above ground level. In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air, and can seep into basements even if the windows are closed. While gathering your family, you should:
- Close all windows, exterior doors and fireplace dampers.
- Turn off all fans, heating, and air conditioning systems.
- Wet some towels and jam them in the cracks under the doors.
- Tape around the doors, windows, exhaust fans and vents.
- Use plastic sheeting to cover windows, outlets, and heat registers.
- Close the window shades, blinds or curtains if you are told there is danger of explosion.
Local officials may call for evacuation in areas at the greatest risk in your community. If you are told to evacuate, it is important to stay calm, listen carefully, and follow all instructions. If you are sure you have time, call your family contact to tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive. If time permits, shut off water and electricity. Leave natural gas on unless local officials advise you otherwise. Only a professional can restore gas service once it is turned off, and this could take weeks in a disaster situation. Items that should be taken with you when you are evacuated include:
Disaster Supply Kit
- Non-Perishable Food
- First Aid Kit
- Important Documents
- Battery Powered Radio
- Phone Numbers
- Special Needs Items (ex diapers)
- Extra Batteries
- Toiletry Items
- Duct Tape
Other Items to Consider
- Pet Supplies
- Children’s Toys
With the exception of service animals, most shelters do not accept pets. For more information on what to do with your pet during emergencies, see the ASPCA web site.
Children in School
In the event of a local emergency, an evacuation, or shelter in place order, parents should check the local media and local school websites for school opening or closing announcements.
Generally, unless evacuation of a particular school is ordered, students will be kept at school until school officials can safely transport them home. The best place for children during a crisis may well be in school. If a school is ordered to provide shelter in place to protect the safety of the children, no one will be allowed in or out of the school building until the danger is past. In that event, parents, for their own safety, should also remain indoors. Relying on the schools to transport students home on normal bus routes will help avoid gridlock in and around schools and help keep roads clear for essential emergency vehicles. If buses are severely delayed, schools may ask parents to help by picking up their children. Parents who go to school should be prepared to present the identification required by school officials, usually a photo ID.
An emergency could arise while you are at work. Check with your employer for workplace emergency plan. Keep a smaller Disaster Supply Kit at work and in your car.
Local Emergency Planning Committee
In 1986 Congress enacted the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (also known as the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act or SARA). The law provides for emergency response planning to cope with the release of toxic chemicals into the air, land, and water. The Warren County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) was organized to carry out provisions of this law. An important goal of the committee is to increase public knowledge and access to information about the presence of hazardous materials in the community and how to respond to an emergency.