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The City of New Orleans

Plan for Emergencies

Hazardous Materials

We use hazardous materials in homes and businesses every day. Any material that can explode, start a fire, be poisonous or radioactive is hazardous. There are many precautions in place to ensure hazardous materials are used, stored, and moved safely in New Orleans. But, spills can and do happen. Emergency personnel can manage small spills with few impacts to the public. But, if there is a large hazardous material spill, emergency officials will tell you what to do to stay safe.

During a hazardous materials incident

Stay informed and do what officials say

Shelter in place if officials tell you to

  • Go inside as quickly as possible.
  • Bring pets inside.
  • Go to a room with the least number of doors and windows. 
  • Seal openings in windows, doors, air conditioning units, exhaust fans, and stove & dryer vents. 
  • Stay in place until officials say it's safe or "all clear."

Evacuate if officials tell you to

  • If there is a spill indoors, try to get out of the building without exposing yourself to the material.
  • Once outside, stay upwind of the incident area.
  • Follow the instructions of officials and first responders.

Protect yourself if you have been exposed to chemicals

Call for help

  • Call 911 to report a hazardous materials incident.
  • For more information on what to do if you have been exposed, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

Remove clothing

  • Try not to touch the contaminated area of the clothing.
  • Don't pull clothing over your head. Instead, cut or rip off clothing.
  • Put clothes inside a plastic bag. 
  • Emergency officials will arrange for further disposal.

Wash yourself

  • As soon as possible, wash your entire body with soap and water.
  • If your eyes are burning or your vision is blurred, rinse your eyes with water for 10 to 15 minutes.

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