Hazardous materials are chemical substances, which if released or misused can pose a threat to the environment or health of a community. A hazardous materials accident can occur anywhere where chemicals are used in industry, agriculture, medicine, research and consumer goods throughout Pasquotank and Camden Counties. Communities located near chemical manufacturing or storage plants are particularly at risk, however, the greatest risk in our area are from the hazardous materials being transported on our roadways daily.
A hazardous material spill or release can pose a risk to life, health and property. An incident can force the evacuation of a few people, a section of a facility or an entire neighborhood or community, resulting in significant economic impact and possible property damage. Spilled material can be costly to clean up and may render the area of the spill unusable for an extended period of time. While hazardous materials incidents are generally unintentional, and associated with transportation accidents or accidents at fixed facilities, hazardous materials can also be released as a criminal or terrorist act.
IF A HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INCIDENT OCCURS
IF ASKED TO EVACUATE
Authorities will decide if evacuation is necessary based primarily on the type and amount of chemical released and how long it is expected to affect an area. Other considerations are the length of time it should take to evacuate the area, weather conditions, and the time of day. If you are told to evacuate:
IF ASKED TO SHELTER-IN-PLACE Follow the following instructions:
Ten square feet of floor space per person will provide sufficient air to prevent carbon dioxide build-up for up to five hours, assuming a normal breathing rate while resting.
However, local officials are unlikely to recommend the public shelter in a sealed room for more than 2-3 hours because the effectiveness of such sheltering diminishes with time as the contaminated outside air gradually seeps into the shelter. At this point, evacuation from the area is the better protective action to take.
Also you should ventilate the shelter when the emergency has passed to avoid breathing contaminated air still inside the shelter.