Hazardous Materials Release
Chemicals are found everywhere and are often used in many ways to help better our lives. However, some chemicals can also be hazardous to humans or the environment if released improperly.
Chemical agents are poisonous vapors, aerosols, liquids and solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants. Hazardous materials can include explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons and radioactive materials.
Emergencies can happen during production, storage, transportation, use or disposal. Chemical manufacturers are one source of hazardous material, but there are many others, including service stations, hospitals, and hazardous materials waste sites.
You are at risk when chemicals are used unsafely or released in harmful amounts where you live, work or play. You could be exposed to a chemical by breathing it in, swallowing contaminated consumables, or coming into physical contact with the chemical.
Protect yourself from a hazardous materials incident:
- Build an emergency kit with the addition of plastic sheeting, duct tape, and scissors.
- Make a family emergency plan.
- Know how to operate your home’s ventilation system.
- Identify an above-ground shelter room with as few openings as possible in case you need to shelter in place.
Take these precautions to help you avoid many chemical emergencies:
Avoid mixing chemicals, even common household products.
Store chemical products properly. Keep products containing hazardous materials in their original containers and never remove the labels unless the container is corroding.
Clean up any spills immediately with some rags, being careful to protect your eyes and skin.
Dispose of unused chemicals properly. Improper disposal can result in harm to yourself or members of your family, accidentally contaminate our local water supply, or harm other people or wildlife.
Many communities have Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) who are responsible for collecting information about hazardous materials in the community and planning, which is available to the public upon request.
During a Hazardous Materials Release
If you are:
Asked to evacuate
In a car
Asked to stay indoors
Using alert systems is crucial to being informed before and during hazardous material incidents, just as with any other disaster. Our alert systems page has resources for a number of alert options.
Hazardous materials releases in Williamson County
Hazardous materials incidents, primarily related to transportation, occur several times a month in Williamson County. Major events (i.e., those requiring significant evacuations) occur approximately six times per year across the state. Hazmat incidents are one of the types of calls that the Emergency Management Agency responds to the most in the county.