The 1984 disaster that took place in Bhopal, India was a terrifying incident that killed over 2,200 people - this disaster led to a new law being set in place in the US. That law in turn led to new response infrastructure and planning procedures, leaving the citizens of the United States better prepared.
Accidental Mustard Gas
A young man was home alone when he discovered a large spider in his bathroom one evening. He dug through his cupboards trying to find something to kill it. He mixed the wrong chemicals and accidentally created a form of mustard gas.
He nearly killed himself when the noxious fumes filled the area. He had to be hospitalized to recover fully.
The greatest way to be prepared for a hazardous material incident is to be well-informed. Since you most likely won't be dealing with highly hazardous materials yourself, the best way to protect you and your family is to arm yourself with knowledge.
One of the best ways to stay safe aside from staying well informed is to make a family emergency plan that goes into detail about what to do during such an emergency. It's also important to prepare your home or another above-ground shelter.
To get started on your family's emergency plan, take a hard look at what your family will need - does anyone have allergies? Medical conditions? Any special needs that need to be attended to? Build your plan around your children and pets first.
The few basics to your plan should include the following - you can never be too ready.
However, since there are different ways that you can be caught in the middle of a hazardous material incident - come up with different plans for each situation you may find yourself in.
When caught outdoors, the best thing to do is to follow these guidelines.
If you are stuck in a car, either stop to seek shelter in a permanent building or remain in your car with the windows and vents closed. Shut off your heater and AC.
You may also be asked to evacuate - it's very important to take evacuation orders seriously and leave your area when told. During evacuation, you should also:
And finally, you may be instructed to stay indoors and shelter in your home - this is for the safety of yourself and others. To stay safe in your home, we recommend taking the following steps.
Once you are not in immediate danger, you should take proper precaution to stay safe.
Emergency Plan (ready.gov)
Emergency Contact Info (ready.gov)
Emergency Plan for Schools (ready.gov)
The gear you'll need to survive. The gear you'll need for evacuation is exactly the same as what you might need when you're staying home to weather out the storm.
An emergency kit will come in handy when you least expect it - be prepared by building your own and filling it with everything you might need, including the following.
Feel free to modify your kit to fit your family's needs - be sure to remember the needs of pets as well.
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