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Brady Smith , AICP
4000 Gateway Centre Blvd.
Pinellas Park, Florida 33782
Phone: (727)570-5151 ext. 42
4000 Gateway Centre Blvd. Suite 100
Phone: (727)570-5151 ext. 29
What are the actions you might need to take
The good things that chemicals bring into our lives have become indispensable to us. Although major chemical emergencies are extremely rare, there always remains a chance that one will occur in our community despite the precautions that have been taken by the chemical users/producers and emergency responders. Knowledge of how to respond safely and appropriately to hazardous material emergencies greatly lessens the chance of serious injury and brings peace of mind.
If you are told to evacuate
You should move to the place/shelter designated by public officials. Listen to your radio and TV for specific instructions and follow these guidelines:
- Stay as calm as you can. If you already know where to go and what to take, that will help. Quickly gather what you and your family will need, unless you are told to leave immediately.
- Turn off lights, heating, cooling, and ventilation systems & lock your house.
- Use only one vehicle for your family. If possible, offer your neighbors a ride.
- Keep car windows/air vents closed.
- Do not use the air conditioner until you are out of the evacuation area.
- Drive safely. Law enforcement officers will help with traffic control.
- Do not worry about your property while you are away. The area will be secured.
- If you need a ride, ask a neighbor. If you cannot, officials will try to arrange transportation, if possible. Call your County Emergency Management Department in advance if you know you will need assistance.
If your children are in school, officials will take care of them. If students have to evacuate, they will be the first to move. Do not try to call or go to your children's school to pick them up, that could delay their evacuation to a safer area. Teachers and other adults will take them to a designated place or shelter. In some cases, the school may not be at risk to the chemical release. Either way, you will be told by local officials through radio and TV where to pick up your children.
Pets will not be allowed inside public shelters but take them with you in a hazardous materials evacuation. Provisions can be made for them if you have their carrier, food, leash, collar, tags, and medication.
If you are told to stay indoors (Shelter in place)
You should protect yourself inside your house or some other building. This action will be recommended if there is a short release, a small amount of hazardous material in the air, or if time does not permit evacuation before the arrival of a cloud of toxic vapor.
Take these steps to protect yourself:
- Go inside immediately! Stay inside until local officials say you can leave safely.
- Close all doors and windows.
- Turn off heating, cooling or ventilation systems.
- Listen to your local radio or TV stations for further instructions.
- Seal all gaps under doorways and windows with towels and duct tape.
- Don't forget to bring all pets indoors! This will most likely be for no more than a few hours.
- Resist the impulse to go outdoors and "check things out" before given the "All Clear" by authorities.
- If you are told to protect your breathing, cover your nose and mouth with a damp handkerchief or other cloth folded over several times.
The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) is a regional committee of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council charged with the coordination of hazardous material planning. Click here for more information on the LEPC.