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:
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.
Someone Asking Too Many Questions
Someone Being Too Interested in a Building or Facility
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 http://azdeq.gov/records-center 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.
Power outages can range from inconvenient to life threatening, depending on a many factors. Electricity keeps our lights on and our heating and air conditioning systems running. For some, electricity may be a necessity to run medical equipment or to power accessibility equipment. Knowing your dependence level on electricity and having a plan will help you and your family be better prepared during a power outage situation. Should there be a long-term loss of power during high (or very low) temperatures, public shelters may be made available to those in need.
- If you rely on anything that is power dependent determine a back-up plan.
- Keep your car's gas tank at least half full. Have cash available. Gas station pumps and ATMs rely on electricity.
- Sign up for outage alerts.
- Know how to manually release your electric garage door.
- Have a battery or solar-powered radio available.
- Use surge protectors on electronic devices.
- Consider a generator. Get advice from a licensed professional.
- Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Unopened, a refrigerator will keep food cold for 4 hours; a freezer will stay cold for 48 hours.
- Turn off and unplug major appliances and HVAC system to prevent damage due to a power surge.
- Leave one light on so you know when the power returns.
- Only use flashlights for emergency lighting. Candles can cause fires.
- Never use a generator indoors, including the garage.
- If power is expected to be off for a long time and temperatures are high, consider going somewhere cool: movie theaters, malls or a local cooling center.
- Stay at least 100 feet away from downed power lines. The ground may be electrified.
- Drive with caution. Traffic lights may be out and powerlines may be down.
- If a power line is touching your car, call 911. DO NOT leave your vehicle until professional help arrives.
- If you absolutely must evacuate your vehicle, DO NOT touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Jump from the vehicle, keeping your feet together so they touch the ground at the same time. Hop away until you are 100 feet from the vehicle.
- If someone else is trapped by a power line, DO NOT try to remove them. Call 911.
- Don't try to repair electrical problems on your own.
- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures above 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!
Terrorism in an intentional violent action intended to attain political or ideological goals. These events can range greatly in type and size and could happen anytime and in any place, often with little or no warning. Some actions are immediately apparent and some can take time to manifest. These threats have brought about large-scale losses of life, the destruction of property, widespread illness and injury, the displacement of large numbers of people and devastating economic loss. Nevertheless, there are things you can do to prepare for the unexpected. Preparing for such events will reduce the stress that you may feel now, and later, should another emergency arise.
If you see something, say something. Suspicious activity can include:
- Unusual items or situations: vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window/door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur.
- Eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.
- Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera); taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.
- Take steps to protect your devices and personal information. Trust your gut; if you think an offer is too good to be true, then it probably is. Visit www.dhs.gov/topic/cybersecurity for more information on cybersecurity.
- Check with your doctor to ensure all required or suggested immunizations are up to date. Children and older adults are particularly vulnerable to biological agents.
- Be wary of suspicious packages and letters.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Know the three factors for protecting oneself from radioactive fallout: TIME, DISTANCE AND SHIELDING. Any protection, however temporary, is better than none at all, and the more time, distance and shielding you can take advantage of, the better.Protection from radioactive fallout requires taking shelter in an underground area or in the middle of a large building. Make your own list of potential shelters near your home, workplace and school.
- During a cyber attack, disconnect your device from the Internet.
- During a biological attack, avoid crowds where others may be infected. Consider wearing a face mask.
- During a chemical attack, quickly try to define the impacted area, if possible and take immediate action to get away without passing through the contaminated area.Protect your face and any exposed skin. Cover your nose and mouth. If you are inside and have air conditioning/heating systems that pull air from the outside, or if you are unsure, turn them off. Seal windows, doors, and vents. Seal any gaps.
- During a nuclear/radiological attack, if you are outside, lie flat on the ground and cover your head. As soon as possible move to an upwind location. Seek shelter immediately, placing as much distance and dense shielding as possible between you and the outdoors where the radioactive material may be. Find the nearest building, preferably built of brick or concrete, and go inside to avoid any radioactive fallout. If the threat is from a nuclear blast, do not look at the flash or fireball-it can blind you
- If there is an explosion, get under a sturdy table or desk if things are falling around you. Protect your face and any exposed skin. Cover your nose and mouth. If you are trapped, avoid creating or breathing dust. Avoid unnecessary movement and shout only as a last resort. Signal using a flashlight or create noise by tapping on an object or using a whistle.
- If there is an active shooter: Run: Leave your belongings behind. If safe to do so, warn others nearby. Keep your hands visible. Hide: Hide in an area out of the shooter's view. Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors. Silence your cell phone and stay as quiet as possible. Fight: As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to incapacitate the shooter. Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.
- Monitor your accounts and contact companies, such as banks, in the event that your Personally Identifiable Information is compromised.
- Immediately seek emergency medical attention if you have symptoms that match those described by officials and you are in the group considered at risk.
- If you were outside during or after a chemical/nuclear/radiological incident, get clean or decontaminate as soon as possible. Carefully and thoughtfully remove clothing. Shower if possible and wash with soap and water. If a shower is not possible, but water is available, wash especially those areas of your body that were not covered by clothing.
- When objects stop falling after an explosion, leave quickly, watching for obviously weakened floors and stairways. Do not use elevators. As you exit from the building, be especially watchful of falling debris. Get low if there is smoke. Check for fire and other hazards.
- When Law Enforcement arrives after an active shooter, follow all directions they give you. Do not speak to, yell at or grab on to police officers. Keep your hands visible and do not point. Stay against the wall, out of the way. Document/write everything down that you remember about the incident while it is fresh in your memory. Provide descriptions of the shooter(s) and/or any other information about the incident.
More Information on Terrorism