What to do if there is a Chemical Emergency?

City officials may recommend that you “Shelter in place” until the chemical release is stopped and winds have dissipated any vapors. Here’s how to Shelter In Place:

  1.  Go Inside Immediately
  • Take yourself and anyone near you inside an enclosed structure, whether it’s a house, business, garage, or vehicle. If you know of an invalid or unattended child in your neighborhood, call them and tell them to remain indoors. Keep any pets inside also.
  • Close all doors, windows, and other sources of outside air. Turn off air conditioning or heating systems, and close the fireplace damper to keep chemical vapors from entering. Ceiling fans or rotary fans inside the building can be safely used to keep cool. Gather a portable radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Move into an interior room, preferably a room with no windows.  From the inside of that room, cover any outside doors, windows, ceiling vents, and other sources of outside air with plastic sheeting and masking tape.  Place a wet towel or sheet along the bottom of the door sill.  If you smell any unusual odor or have trouble breathing, you should sit down, cover your nose and mouth with a damp washcloth, then take slow, shallow breaths and try to stay calm.2.
  • Shelter in Place and Warning system Manual.

2.  Stay Connected

  • The City will communicate emergency information via phone, social media, website, local media,  and the outdoor warning sirens
  • Sign up for notifications from the city.officials.

3.  Stay off the Phone

  • City officials may try to telephone your home or business using the city’s computerized telephone notification system. Do not call police, fire, or 9-1-1 unless you are reporting a police, fire or medical emergency at your location. Overloaded telephone circuits may keep actual emergency calls from getting through.

Should I try to Evacuate?

Evacuation may be an appropriate precaution during a flood or hurricane, but you should NOT attempt an evacuation during a chemical emergency unless specifically ordered by city officials. Leaving your home or business may expose you to more chemical vapors, especially if you travel toward the leak or through the toxic cloud as it drifts downwind.

What if I can not find shelter?

Studies indicate that taking shelter is the best response to a chemical release. Even a poorly sealed building or vehicle provides some protection against chemical vapors. If you are inside a vehicle, close your vehicle’s doors and windows, and turn off the vehicle’s air conditioning and ventilation system. Turn on your car radio to or KTRH AM 740 for more information.

If you can’t get inside, move in a crosswind direction, so the wind is blowing from left to right, or right to left, but NOT directly into your face or from behind you. You can see what direction the wind is blowing by observing nearby trees, flags, or clouds in the sky. Signs have been posted in all city parks identifying the closest public buildings where you can shelter in place. City employees have been assigned to open these buildings after normal operating hours in order to provide safe shelter.

What if my children are at school?

The City and Deer Park Independent School District have installed emergency notification radios in the School District Administration Building, all school buildings, and all city buildings. This pager-type radio system can be instantly activated by Police Dispatchers, so the administrative staff and teachers at your children’s school will be notified in the event of a chemical release. They have been trained how to protect your children and will shelter in place until the emergency is over.

Please do NOT call the school and tie up telephone lines needed by school staff to communicate with district officials. If you go to the school, you are putting yourself and all the other children in danger if school officials open the doors to let you remove your children from their safe shelter. In fact, you and your children could be overcome by vapors while traveling to or from the school. Instead, listen to AM 530 for parent information from school officials.

How will I know when the emergency is over?

Stay inside, sheltered in place, until you hear the “All Clear” message from city officials over the Outside Alarm System or telephone notification system. After the All Clear signal has been given, open all doors and windows, turn on your air conditioning or heating system, then go outside to let the building “air out” for 15-30 minutes before you re-enter.