What to Do After a Hazardous Material Spill

Sobbing uncontrollably in shower GIF
Curse the god of your choice while you enjoy your emergency drench shower.

Mom always told us that you can’t unspill the milk. What’s done is done, but you can still prevent further damage.

  • Stay aware and alert. If the hazardous material spill made the local news, stay tuned to the radio or TV for updates. 
  • Go to the designated shelter location with your emergency kit if you have been asked to evacuate. You can also go to the shelter if you haven’t been asked to evacuate, but you feel unsafe at home. 
  • Don’t go back to the spill site unless the authorities declare that it is safe to do so. 
  • Upon returning, open the windows and vents and turn on any fans to ensure proper ventilation.
  • If you notice lingering vapors or substances, immediately inform your local authorities.
Rule of Thumb

You can find the nearest public shelter by texting “SHELTER + your ZIP code” to 43362. You can also call 211 to obtain information about shelter locations.

Keep your hazardous chemicals properly stored, keep them out of reach of children and/or dumb adults, keep your emergency contact numbers within easy reach, and always use the right tools to keep yourself safe while using dangerous substances. You don’t need a chemical burn or partial blindness to be cool. You’re cool just the way you are. Stay extra cool by disposing of your questionable waste materials using the recommended methods instead of dumping them in the sewer or into your neighbor’s well. HazMat can’t stop you when you’re this well prepared, so keep on shining.

Frog in water
The frogs of the world thank you for your diligence.

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Katherine Esperanza is a Los Angeles based writer. When she's not conjuring new queer slice-of-life short stories, she's busy watching the newest films, out at queer shows, supporting queer artists, or just checking out the queer community as a whole.

A former international non-profiteer, small business owner, and co-op'er, Katherine is delighted to help introduce more leftist politics into the disaster preparedness/prepper sphere, which is currently far too right-wing.