Hazardous Material Emergency

Hazardous materials

Before a Hazardous Materials Incidents

The Kootenai County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)  collects information about hazardous materials in the community. Contact your local emergency management office for more information on LEPCs.

The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property from the effects of a hazardous materials incident:

  • Build an emergency supply kit with the addition of plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Make a family emergency plan
  • Know how to operate your home’s ventilation system
  • Identify a room in your home or business with the smallest number of windows and plan to use that room if you need to Shelter in Place.
  • Read more about sheltering in place


During a Hazardous Materials Incident

Listen to local radio or television stations and check social media sites for detailed information and follow instructions carefully. Remember that some toxic chemicals are odorless.

If you are asked to evacuate

  • Do so immediately.
  • Stay alert for information on evacuation routes, temporary shelters, and procedures.
  • If you have time, minimize contamination in the house by closing all windows, shutting all vents, and turning off attic fans and HVAC systems.
  • Take pre-assembled disaster supplies.
  • Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people and people with access and functional needs.

If you are caught outside

  • Stay upstream, uphill, and upwind. Try to go at least one-half mile (usually 8-10 city blocks) from the danger area.
  • Do not walk into or touch any spilled liquids, airborne mists, or solid chemical deposits. Try not to inhale gases, fumes and smoke. If possible, cover mouth with a cloth or mask while leaving the area.
  • Stay away from accident victims until the hazardous material has been identified.

If you are in a motor vehicle

  • Stop and seek shelter in a permanent building.
  • If you must remain in your car, keep car windows and vents closed and shut off the air conditioner and heater.

If you are asked to stay inside

Follow the Shelter in Place guidelines


After a Hazardous Material Incident

The following are guidelines for after a hazardous material incident:

  • Listen for the latest emergency information.
  • Follow any decontamination instructions from local authorities.
  • Seek medical treatment for unusual symptoms.
  • Place exposed clothing and shoes in a tightly sealed container.
  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe. 
  • Report any hazards to your local emergency services.