Hazardous Response Incidents

Hazardous Materials Are A Part Of Our Everyday Lives

From industrial chemicals and toxic waste to household products, hazardous materials are part of our everyday lives.

Hazardous materials of all types are transported daily,  in and around this County, by air, water, rail and pipeline.  In addition, numerous hazardous materials, to include obsolete chemical warfare agents, are stored in or near Gloucester County.  With proper management of these materials, there is little risk to the public, but accidents can and do happen.  Knowing the proper procedures to follow in a hazardous materials incident can save lives and prevent unnecessary worry.     

Hazardous material are substances or materials that, because of their chemical, physical or biological nature, pose a potential risk to life health or property if they are released.  Potential hazards can occur during any stage of hazardous materials use:  storage, production, transportation, use and disposal.

Hazardous material incidents include a person affected by fumes due to a chemical reaction of cleaners in the kitchen; a fuel spill on a road as a result of a traffic accident; a chemical release from a storage facility that requires the evacuation or sheltering of thousands of people; or a train accident with tank cars caring very toxic materials that injures, or is lethal, to hundreds of people.         

What To Do Before The Hazardous Materials Incident   

  • Know the warning and notification methods what will be used in the event of a hazardous materials incident.  
  • Read the labels carefully on all household cleaning agents, chemicals and pesticides.     
  • Learn the "how to" and "don't do" information the manufacturer's provide for their products.     
  • Learn the correct methods to shelter safely in your home.     
  • Learn the emergency plans for schools and day care centers within your area.     
  • Find out what will be done with your children if there is a hazardous materials  emergency of any type.     
  • Learn the best evacuation routes from your home in the event of a emergency.     
  • Have more then one choice because chemical releases will be affected by wind direction.     
  • Have the recommended emergency supplies on hand.     
  • Make sure all family members know how to respond during and after a hazardous materials emergency.

 During The Hazardous Materials Incident   

  • If you witness a hazardous materials release, accident, spill or leak, CALL 9-1-1 immediately.    
  • If you hear a warning signal, tune to local radio or television stations.  County authorities will provide specific information.  Follow all instructions carefully. 
  • If you are not advised to evacuate, remain indoors and follow sheltering instructions.
  • Remain in protected, interior areas of the building where toxic vapors are reduced,  and keep your radio with you.  
  • If you are advised to evacuate, do so immediately. 
  • Close and lock your doors and windows, make sure all windows and vents closed, and continue to listen to the radio for additional information or instructions.     
  • Stay away from any incident location in order to lessen your chances of contamination. 

If You Are Indoors

  • Try to stay upstream, uphill and upwind of any incident; hazardous materials can quickly be transported by water and wind.     
  • If in a motor vehicle, close off ventilation and shut your windows.        
  • Avoid contact with any spilled liquid materials, airborne mist or condensed solid or liquid chemical deposit. 
  • Keep your body fully covered and wear gloves, socks  and shoes.  

 If You Are Boating

  • Stay upstream and upwind of any incidents; hazardous materials can quickly be transported by water and wind.     
  • If you see a hazardous materials incident, oil spill or leak, call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY.     
  • Obtain as much information as possible (i.e. location, materials involved, spiller) without putting yourself at risk.     
  • Avoid contact with any spilled liquid materials, airborne mist or condensed solid or liquid chemical deposit. 
  • Keep your body fully covered and wear gloves, socks and shoes.     

After A Hazardous Materials Incident

  • Continue to monitor local radio and television stations for emergency instructions.   
  • Do not return home or re-enter the area until authorities say that is is safe to do so.     
  • Upon returning home, open all windows, vents and turn on fans to provide ventilation.     
  • Throw away any uncovered or exposed food.     
  • County Haz-Mat officials will identify the types and levels of contamination, if any.     
  • A person or item that has been exposed to a hazardous chemical may be contaminated and could contaminate other people or items. 
  • If you have been in contact with, or have been exposed to hazardous chemicals, you should follow decontamination instructions from County officials.        
  • If you suffer any symptoms of exposure, DIAL 9-1-1 to obtain decontamination and medical help.     
  • County officials will provide detailed instructions on cleaning up land and property.     
  • Report any lingering vapors or other hazards to 9-1-1.