Role of Your EMA: Hazardous Materials Emergencies

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In the event of an emergency or severe weather condition, an alert may be sent to the phone number provided by voice, text and/or email.

Allen County special needs and facilities registry so emergency responders can better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergencies.


Where is the danger?

Hazardous materials (HAZMAT) emergencies can occur anywhere, anytime in Allen County. Most of the emergencies occur with little or no advance warning.


How will you know of the danger?

  • You may see, hear or smell something very unusual. For example, an explosion, crash or chemical vapor in the air. Any tanker accident could be dangerous.
  • You may hear long, unusual warning sirens
  • You may hear or see emergency messages on local radio and TV

Follow these protective actions:

  • Warn others nearby
  • Move crosswind away from danger
  • Move indoors (see Shelter-In-Place)
  • When you are out of danger, report the emergency to 9-1-1


ALERT means you either witnessed, been told of an emergency or have heard long, unusual siren activity.

SHELTER means to Shelter-In-Place (SIP)

TUNE-IN means to turn on a local radio or television station for ongoing emergency information.

SIRENS – Any long or unusual siren activity from fire stations, emergency vehicles or other locations is an ALERT signal to find a SHELTER. You should then TUNE-IN a local radio or TV station for emergency information and begin protective action.


Local radio, TV and cable stations will broadcast emergency warnings and are the primary source of official warning for the general public. Tune to a local radio or television station for official information.


EVACUATION – Evacuation takes time and is not always possible once a hazardous material is in the air. Shelter-In-Place may be the best way to protect yourself until the chemical release is stopped. If an evacuation is recommended or ordered, leave immediately and carefully follow the directions issued.

PRECAUTIONARY EVACUATION may be needed when a chemical or other emergency is likely to develop into a life threatening emergency and when enough time is expected to allow for residents to move away safely.

If a precautionary evacuation is called, fire, police, EMA or other emergency personnel will tell you through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) how to proceed. Facts about the location, type and amount of material involved, wind speed, and road conditions need to be known before safe directions can be given.


If a chemical cloud does not permit evacuation, Shelter-In-Place is the best protection available. Shelter-In-Place means going indoors and following the instructions below. It is important to keep all outside air from entering your home or other building.

  • Go inside your home or other building
  • Close all windows and doors to the outside
  • Turn off all heating and air conditioning equipment
  • Turn off all exhaust fans and ventilation systems
  • Close fireplace dampers if possible
  • Close interior doors to prevent drafts
  • Seal any obvious gaps to the outside air with tape, plastic wrap, wet towels, etc.
  • Tune in to a local radio or TV station


  • Parents should not attempt to pick up children from schools, daycare, etc. unless or until told to do so through the news media. If Shelter-In-Place or evacuations are taking place the arrival of the parents would only create additional confusion and could be dangerous.
  • Be certain your children’s caretakers know what to do in emergencies.
  • If you are in a car, close windows and vents, turn off heater or air conditioner and drive carefully away from the danger area.
  • Don’t panic and don’t believe rumors. Tune in to a local EAS station for accurate and updated information.
  • During the emergency, precautionary evacuations may be assisted by buses or other public methods, but the primary method for you to evacuate is for you to use your own vehicle or have arrangements made with others in advance.
  • Use your telephone only for fire, medical or police emergencies.

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