Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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March 18, 2005

Safety Tips from the Local Emergency Planning Committee
LEPC Offers Advice on What to Do in a Chemical Emergency

Chemical emergencies can occur either in a fixed facility like a manufacturing plant, on the roads, or in railways in a transportation accident. It’s important that people know what to do and are prepared to act properly during an emergency.

In case of a chemical emergency, you might be asked to take one of three actions: evacuate; shelter-in-place; or protect your breathing. Be sure you understand these procedures. If you have neighbors who are hard-of-hearing, do not see well, or have other special needs, please help them. Make sure they know what actions to take.

Always follow the instructions of emergency response officials. They may come to your door or issue instructions over a loudspeaker, or they may ask radio and television media to air instructions either over the Emergency Alert System or in a news announcement. Turn on the local news if you become aware of an emergency in your area.

If you are told to “shelter-in-place,” you should protect yourself inside your house or other building. Follow these instructions:

  • Go inside if you are outside. Bring your pets inside.
  • Stay inside until emergency response officials say you can leave safely. This is most likely to be no more than a few hours.
  • Close all doors and windows. Tape over cracks or openings to provide more protection.
  • Turn off heating or cooling systems.
  • Do not use fireplaces. Close the dampers.
  • Stay tuned to local Emergency Alert System stations or news programs on radio or TV for further information.

    If you witness a hazardous materials emergency:

  • Evacuate the area immediately.
  • Call 911 to report the emergency.
  • Do not attempt to put out fires with water or rescue injured persons. Emergency response officials will take appropriate actions.

    If you are told to evacuate:

  • Move to a place designated by emergency response officials. Travel in the direction directed by the officials.
  • Stay calm.
  • Gather items needed for your family. Pack only what you will need most. Take extra clothing; eyeglasses, dentures, drugs, other important medicines, and first aid kit; special supplies for infants and small children, or elderly; portable radio and flashlight; checkbook and credit cards; and driver’s license or other ID.
  • Remember to turn off lights, appliances, heating, cooling or ventilation systems before you leave. Leave the refrigerator and freezer on. Lock your house.
  • Do not go to your children’s school to pick them up. This could delay their move to a safer place. School officials have emergency response procedures in place. Announcements will be made through the news media.
  • Do not try to call your children’s school. The phone lines will be needed for official business.
  • Do not use your telephone or cellular phone unless you or someone you know is injured or too sick to do what is needed. If you must use the phone, keep your call brief.
  • Do not listen to rumors. Stay tuned to local media or an Emergency Alert System station for information.
  • Use only one car or vehicle for your family.
  • Check to see if any neighbors need a ride.
  • Keep your car windows and air vents closed.
  • Drive safely. Traffic may be heavy. Officers along the route will direct you.

    If you are told to protect your breathing:

  • You should cover your nose and mouth with a damp handkerchief, towel or other cloth. Fold the cloth over several times.
  • Close the windows and doors if you are in a building or a car.
  • Turn off heating or cooling systems.

    For more information on emergency planning, contact the Local Emergency Planning Committee, Oswego County Emergency Management Office, phone 591-9150.

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