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What to do during a chemical spill or release

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Chemical spill

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Prepare you family or business for an emergency

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During a chemical spill or release

Prepare you family or business for an emergency

A chemical spill or release can be anything from a hazardous material spill on the highway, to a gas leak in your home or spilling household cleaner. It is important that you know how to protect yourself and others during a chemical release incident.

How to prepare for and prevent a chemical spill or release

  • ​​Avoid mixing any chemicals. Mixing household products can potentially create toxic gases.
  • Always read and follow the direction on chemical products. Some products require gloves and eye protection before use. Other products may need to be used in large, open spaces to avoid inhaling dangerous gases.
  • Store all chemicals safely. All non-food products should be stored in their original containers with proper directions for use so they can be easily identified.
  • Do not use household chemicals near an open flame or heated appliance as vapour particles could catch fire or explode.
  • Dispose of all unused chemicals properly. Unsafe disposal of chemical products can result in harm to yourself or others.

Who should I call during a chemical spill or release?

Call 9-1-1 if there is an immediate emergency (fire, explosions) ;or if there is spilled gasoline or oil.

Call Poison control if there has been contact with a poison or if one has been swallowed.

Call 3-1-1 for

  • Household hazardous waste (automotive chemicals, motor oil, garden & pest chemicals, cleaning products, pressurized tanks, propane, helium, fire extinguishers, old paint & removers)
  • Biohazardous waste (biomedical, animal carcasses)
  • Spilled or leaked unknown material (if not deemed to be an immediate threat to people, property or the environment)
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Staying safe during a chemical spill or release

Indoor

  • ​​Treat potentially hazardous materials with caution. Evacuate your home or the building immediately using an exit that avoids the chemical.
  • Do not attempt to clean up hazardous materials on your own as you could become ill or injured.
  • Once outside, phone 9-1-1 using a cell phone or a neighbour’s landline.
  • Follow instructions from local authorities. They will clean up and dispose of the hazardous materials and inform you when the area is safe.

Outdoor

  • ​​Do not stay outside or within a vehicle. Leave the area immediately and shelter-in-place in the nearest building. Close and seal all doors and windows. Turn off the ventilation. If possible, notify others of the spill or release on your way to safety.
  • Once inside, phone 9-1-1 using a cell phone or landline.
  • Follow instructions from local authorities using local news channels, emergency notifications or radio.
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After a chemical release or spill

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Conduct a household inventory and properly dispose of any materials you do not use to prevent another emergency.