People may be exposed to a hazardous material when there is a fire or an accidental spill. Smoke and heat from a fire can carry hazardous materials. A spill on the ground can evaporate and enter the air. It may also be released as a gas and mix with the air. Once a hazardous material is in the air we may breath it.
The hazardous material may be seen as a cloud or it may not be seen at all. Sometimes we may be able to smell or taste a hazardous material to warn us of its presence. But this is not always the case and it is not the same for everybody. The effect that a hazardous material may have on our bodies depends on its nature, strength and the length of time that we are exposed to it.
Things to do when you see, hear, or smell a hazardous materials accident:
- Phone 911
- Stay away from the area and all routes of access so emergency responders can get there quickly.
- If you are in a vehicle, leave the area and avoid visible clouds.
- Shelter in place until told to evacuate