Hazardous Materials

2020 Emergency Response Guidebook:

Click Here for the digital copy of the 2020 Emergency Response Guidebook



Hazardous materials are chemical substances, which if released or misused can pose a threat to the environment or health. These chemicals are used in industry, agriculture, medicine, research, and consumer goods. Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons, and radioactive materials.

A hazardous materials accident can occur anywhere. Communities located near chemical manufacturing plants are particularly at risk. However, hazardous materials are transported on our roadways, railways, and waterways daily, so any area is considered vulnerable to an accident.

Learn to detect the presence of a hazardous material.

Many hazardous materials do not have a taste or an odor. Some materials can be detected because they cause physical reactions such as watering eyes or nausea. Some hazardous materials exist beneath the surface of the ground and can be recognized by an oil or foam-like appearance.


Find out evacuation plans for your workplace and your children’s schools.

Be ready to evacuate. Plan several evacuation routes out of the area.

Have disaster supplies on hand.

· Flashlight and extra batteries

· Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries

· First aid kit and manual

· Emergency food and water

· Nonelectric can opener

· Essential medicines

· Cash and credit cards

· Sturdy shoes

Develop an emergency communication plan.

In case family members are separated from one another during a hazardous materials accident (this is a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.

Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone knows the name, address and phone number of the contact person.

If you hear a siren or other warning signal, turn on a radio or television for further emergency information.



If you see an accident, call 9-1-1 or the local fire department to report the nature and location of the accident as soon as possible.

Move away from the accident scene and help keep others away.

Do not walk into or touch any of the spilled substance. Try not to inhale gases, fumes, and smoke. If possible, cover mouth with a cloth while leaving the area.

Stay away from accident victims until the hazardous material has been identified.

Try to stay upstream, uphill, and upwind of the accident.

Authorities will decide if evacuation is necessary based primarily on the type and amount of chemical released and how long it is expected to affect an area. Other considerations are the length of time it should take to evacuate the area, weather conditions and the time of day.




Seal house so contaminants cannot enter.

Close and lock windows and doors.

Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels and duct tape.

Seal gaps around window and air conditioning units, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and stove and dryer vents with duct tape and plastic sheeting, wax paper, or aluminum wrap.

Close fireplace dampers.

Close off nonessential rooms such as storage areas, laundry rooms, and extra bedrooms.

Turn off ventilation systems.

Bring pets inside.

Immediately after the "shelter-in-place" announcement is issued, fill up bathtubs or large containers for an additional water supply and turn off the intake valve to the house.

If gas or vapors could have entered the building, take shallow breaths through a cloth or a towel.

Avoid eating or drinking any food or water that may be contaminated.

Monitor the local Emergency Broadcast System station for further updates and remain in shelter until authorities indicate it is safe to come out.



Stay tuned to a radio or television for information on evacuation routes, temporary shelters, and procedures.

Follow the routes recommended by the authorities — shortcuts may not be safe. Leave at once.

If you have time, minimize contamination in the house by closing all windows, shutting all vents, and turning off attic fans.

Take pre-assembled disaster supplies.

Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance — infants, elderly people and people with disabilities.

Return home only when authorities say it is safe.

Follow local instructions concerning the safety of food and water.

Cleanup and dispose of residue carefully. Follow instructions from emergency officials concerning clean-up methods.

For more information on Hazardous Materials, 
contact Morton County Emergency Management at 
(701) 667-3307.