Get prepared for a hazardous material spill

Last updated on August 29, 2022

An illustration of hazardous material spills

Hazardous material spills can occur on land or in water. They involve substances such as chemicals, radiation, biohazard materials, oil and gas, propane, flammable materials, industrial products and mixed waste.

To prepare for a hazardous material spill:

What to do during a hazardous material spill

Sometimes an accident may cause a hazardous material to enter the air. You may be told to “shelter-in-place” instead of evacuating.

This means:

  • Go indoors and stay there
  • Close all outside and inside doors
  • Close all windows
  • Do not use kitchen or bathroom vents
  • Set thermostats so air conditioners, furnaces and hot water heaters do not come on
  • Do not use fireplaces. Close all dampers
  • Do not operate the clothes dryer
  • Stay in an inside room as far away from windows and doors as possible
  • Avoid smoking as it contaminates the air
  • Do not leave the building until told to
  • Stay tuned to local TV or radio for information
  • Do not use the telephone

Shelter in Place

Report a hazardous material spill

If you become aware of a hazardous material spill, report it.

  • Call toll-free 1-800-663-3456 24 hours a day
  • If the spill is in international waters, call 1-800-OILS-911