Types of emergencies

Chemical accidents and toxic fumes

Hazardous materials form part of our everyday lives, from industrial chemicals to household detergents; they are substances that pose a potential risk due to their chemical nature.

If you witness a hazardous material accident, remember to telephone 999 immediately. Stay away from the incident site to minimise the risk of contamination. If you think you may have been contaminated, wait for the Emergency Services who will provide decontamination facilities.

General advice

  • Go indoors, close all outside doors/windows and stay there until you are advised to leave by the Emergency Services
  • Bring pets indoors
  • Turn off air conditioning and ventilation fans (same applies in a car)
  • Close all doors and windows and block obvious vents (remember to unblock before switching equipment on again)
  • Tune into local radio and/or television and listen for local announcements - they will inform you when you can go outside and of other actions you should take
  • Extinguish all naked flames e.g. pilot lights
  • Cover or put all food in a closed, sealed cupboard or container
  • Have emergency provisions ready
  • Wash and/or peel all fruit and vegetables before eating
  • Be prepared you may need to be evacuated, get an overnight bag ready and follow the advice of the Emergency Services

Do not

  • Try to collect your children from school unless told to do so - they will be looked after and the correct action taken
  • Go outside until you are told to do so - with some chemicals everything may appear quite normal and you won't be able to see or smell them
  • Use rainwater as it may look normal but could be dangerous to drink or wash - any rainwater stored e.g. water butts should be discarded
  • Use leafy vegetables or difficult to wash produce
  • Pet animals that have been outside

Animals and pets

  • If you need to go back to a restricted area to feed or care for livestock, horses etc contact the police, who will make the necessary arrangements
  • Pets should be kept under cover, however do not go looking for your cat or dog if it is out when the emergency is announced - they can be cared for when the emergency is over
  • Do not touch any animals that have been outside

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