Hazardous Materials Spills & Shelter-In-Place

Chemical manufacturing plants are just one source of potential danger for a major hazardous materials accident. The El Paso area has tremendous amounts of hazardous materials transported on our roadways every day. These hazardous materials present not only a potential for loss of life but also significant environmental exposure.

In the event of a hazardous materials spill or roadway accident, emergency officials may ask you to evacuate your home or office, or may ask you to shelter-in-place. The term "Shelter-in-Place" means to seek immediate shelter and remain there during the emergency rather than evacuating the area. Shelter-in-Place may last no more than one- to-two hours and preparations, made in advance, can ensure that the event is as comfortable as possible.

If you are asked to Shelter-in-Place, here is a list of what to do:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. If you are outdoors, go inside immediately (an interior room without windows is best). DO NOT call 911 unless you are reporting an immediate life-threatening situation.
  3. Close all windows and doors. Place precut plastic sheeting over windows, and tape in place.
  4. Close all outside air vents and fireplace dampers. Turn off cooling and heating or ventilating systems. Cover cracks under doors with damp towels. Tape cracks and other openings such as electrical outlets and cable television outlets for extra protection. Keep pets indoors.
  5. Listen carefully to an AM/FM radio or local television station for instructions from emergency officials.
Traveling In a Vehicle
  1. Listen to your local radio station for reports about your route and location of shelter.
  2. Turn off air conditioner, vent and heater.
  3. Keep car windows and air vents closed.
Your Children Are In School
Do not go to your children's school to pick them up. School officials are trained in shelter in place procedures and will take care of your children. Do not try to call them. You will be told by radio or TV where to pick up your children in the event they were evacuated from their school or daycare.

Assemble Your Shelter-In-Place Kit