Man-Made Hazards

Hazardous Materials (chemicals), Power Outages and Terrorism

These are man-made threats that can range from inconvenient to life threatening.  Chemicals, can be hazardous if released improperly, usually as a result of transportation accidents or chemical accidents in plants.  Power outages, can occur for any number of reasons - weather, accidents, etc.  Terrorism, an intentional violent action intended to attain political or ideological goals can range in type and size and could happen anytime and in any place.  Below are some actions that you can take to help prepare for these situations and help you get through them or maybe keep them from happening.

If you see something, say something.

Suspicious activity may include:

  1. Unusal Items or...
  2. ...Asking Too Many Questions
  3. ...Being Too Interested...

Unusual Items or Situations

  • A vehicle is parked in an odd location.
  • A package/luggage is unattended.
  • A window/door is open that is usually closed, etc.
  1. Hazardous Materials
  2. Power Outages
  3. Terrorism

Chemicals are found everywhere. They purify drinking water, increase crop production and simplify household chores. Many products containing hazardous chemicals are used and stored in homes routinely. These products are shipped daily on the nation's highways, railroads, waterways and pipelines. Chemicals can be hazardous to humans or the environment if used or released improperly. Hazardous materials include any chemical or substance that could adversely affect the safety of the public, handlers, or carriers during transport or if released into the environment. Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons and radioactive materials. Although extremely rare, there always remains a slim chance that a chemical emergency will occur despite the extraordinary precautions that have been taken. These substances are most often released as a result of transportation accidents or because of chemical accidents in plants.


  • Hazardous materials are routinely shipped via major highways and railways.
  • Visit to find out about nearby companies that have filed a Tier II report for hazardous materials.
  • Attend Maricopa County's Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) meetings to find out about chemical hazards in your community.
  • Be prepared to shelter in place. Identify an internal room, preferably without windows. Keep a roll of duct tape, scissors, and plastic in that room. To save critical time, pre-measure and cut the plastic sheeting for each window, door, and vent opening.


  • Turn off air conditioning/heating system.
  • Seal your home. Close windows, doors, and vents. Seal any gaps.
  • Bring pets indoors.
  • If outside, stay upstream, uphill, and upwind at least one-half mile away from the danger area.
  • Protect your face and any exposed skin. Cover your nose and mouth.


  • Open windows and vents and turn on fans for ventilation.  
  • Act quickly if you have come in to contact with or have been exposed to hazardous chemicals. Do not make contact with other people or materials.
  • Follow decontamination instructions from local authorities. Place exposed clothing and shoes in tightly sealed containers. Call local authorities to find out about proper disposal.
  • Seek medical treatment for unusual symptoms as soon as possible. Advise everyone who comes into contact with you that you may have been exposed to a toxic substance.
  • Report any lingering vapors or other hazards to your local emergency services office.
  • Find out from local authorities how to clean up your land and property.

Hazardous Materials Brochure (PDF)

Hazardous Materials Brochure - Spanish (PDF)