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Hazards - Hazardous Materials
Overview of the Hazard
A hazardous material is any material (flammable or poisonous) that would be a danger to life or to the environment if released without precautions, or improperly stored, shipped or handled. Hazardous material releases can cause acute or chronic health effects, damage to property, expensive cleanup/contractor costs, serious injury and even death.
Hazardous Materials Quick Facts
- Brevard County Fire Rescue maintains a Specialized Response Team (SRT) 24 hours a day, for hazardous materials incidents. Report any such incidents to 9-1-1.
- Hazardous materials are defined and regulated in the United States primarily by laws and regulations administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
- Hazardous materials are stored and transported throughout the East Central Florida area in various quantities. The storage of hazardous materials ranges from residential storage of household products to bulk storage of large volumes for industrial purposes. Hazardous materials are transported daily on the state’s highways, railroads, waterways and pipelines.
- Hazardous material releases in highly populated areas could result in evacuation or “shelter-in-place” situations.
- Hazardous Waste is spent or used hazardous materials, and in most cases are just as dangerous. Sometimes, these chemicals are disposed of illegally, such as abandoned on parking lots, behind buildings, roadsides, and in the woods/fields. DO NOT approach or handle, CALL "911" IMMEDIATELY!
- Witnessing Hazardous Material Incident:
If you see an accident/incident that may involve hazardous materials, DIAL "911". Report what you have seen and let the authorities handle the situation. DO NOT APPROACH A HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SCENE. YOU MAY ENDANGER YOUR LIFE AND THE LIVES OF OTHERS.
Fixed-facilities and transportation routes, where hazardous materials can be stored or transported, are often in close proximity to populated areas, significant property development and very valuable environmental resources important to the human and economic well-being of the county.
Historic Events in Brevard County:
- On January 21, 2011,there was a fatal accident/explosion involving a tanker truck carrying 8,000 gallons of fuel at the State Road 528 overpass at North Courtenay Parkway. The crash caused major damage to bridge spans and support beams. Repairs took several weeks to complete.
What Would You Do?
According to ready.gov, here are some recommended actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your property from the effects of a hazardous materials incident:
- You should add plastic sheeting, duct tape and scissors to the kit in order be better prepared for a hazardous materials incident. You may want to prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car in case you are told to evacuate.
- Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
According to ready.gov, here are some recommended actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your property from the effects during a hazardous materials incident:
Asked to evacuate
- Do so immediately, and take your disaster supply kit with you.
- Stay tuned to a radio or television for information on evacuation routes, temporary shelters, and procedures.
- Follow the routes recommended by the authorities--shortcuts may not be safe. Leave at once.
- If you have time, minimize contamination in the house by closing all windows, shutting all vents, and turning off attic fans.
- Take pre-assembled disaster supplies.
- Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly, and people with disabilities.
- Stay upstream, uphill, and upwind! In general, try to go at least one-half mile (usually 8-10 city blocks) from the danger area. Move away from the accident scene and help keep others away.
- Do not walk into or touch any spilled liquids, airborne mists, or condensed solid chemical deposits. Try not to inhale gases, fumes and smoke. If possible, cover mouth with a cloth while leaving the area.
- Stay away from accident victims until the hazardous material has been identified.
In a motor vehicle
- Stop and seek shelter in a permanent building. If you must remain in your car, roll car windows (if ordered to do so) and vents closed and recirculate or shut off the air conditioner and heater.
Requested to stay indoors
- Bring pets inside.
- Close and lock all exterior doors and windows. Close vents, fireplace dampers, and as many interior doors as possible.
- Turn off air conditioners and ventilation systems that draw air from outdoors, if possible. In large buildings, set ventilation systems to 100 percent recirculation so that no outside air is drawn into the building. If this is not possible, ventilation systems should be turned off.
- Go into the pre-selected shelter room. This room should be above ground and have the fewest openings to the outside.
- Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels or plastic sheeting and duct tape.
- Seal gaps around window and air conditioning units, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and stove and dryer vents with duct tape and plastic sheeting, wax paper or aluminum wrap.
- Use material to fill cracks and holes in the room, such as those around pipes.
- If gas or vapors could have entered the building, take shallow breaths through a cloth or a towel. Avoid eating or drinking any food or water that may be contaminated.
Protect Your Breathing
- Cover your nose and mouth with a damp handkerchief, rag or towel and seek shelter.
- If in an automobile, turn off A/C or heater, close windows, vents and do not drive into the affected area.
- Listen to the radio for information updates and stay out of the area until an "All Clear" is broadcast.
If Your Children Are in School
- If your children are in school during an incident, please do not try to pick them up. They will be transported to pickup areas outside the affected area, if necessary. Local radio and TV will announce when and where parents can pick up their children. School personnel will supervise and care for the children until the parents pick them up.
If You Grow Food Products
- Do not eat or sell products.
- Protective actions (such as washing, discarding, etc.) are specific to the crops affected and their maturity at the time of contamination.
- Tune to local radio and TV for additional instructions.
- Contact your local agricultural extension agent for more information.
- If You Have a Family Member in a Nursing Home or Hospital
- These facilities follow their own evacuation and shelter procedures. Do not try to pick up your relative.
- Check with these facilities in advance to determine their evacuation procedures.
- Local radio and TV will announce if and where patients are being moved.
If You Have Livestock
- Place the animals in a enclosed shelter, if possible
- Leave plenty of water and food for several days
- Use stored feed if possible
- Tune to local radio and TV for further instructions.
According to ready.gov, here are recommended some actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your property after a hazardous materials incident:
- Go to a designated public shelter if you have been told to evacuate.
- Act quickly and seek medical help, if you have come in to contact with or have been exposed to hazardous materials.
- Follow decontamination instructions from local authorities. You may be advised to take a thorough shower or you may be advised to stay away from water and follow another procedure.
- Place exposed clothing and shoes in tightly sealed containers. Do not allow them to contact other materials. Call local authorities to find out about proper disposal.
- Advise everyone who comes in to contact with you that you may have been exposed to a hazardous material.
- Listen to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information.
- Help a neighbor who may require special assistance - infants, elderly, and people with disabilities. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
- Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Open windows and vents and turn on fans to provide ventilation.
- Find out from local authorities how to clean up your land and property.
- Report any lingering vapors or other hazards to your local emergency services office.
Brevard County Emergency Management Office
1746 Cedar Street
Rockledge, Florida 32955
Tel: (321) 637-6670
Fax: (321) 633-1738