Hazardous Materials Guidelines

Quick Response Guidelines:

  1. Move away from the site of the hazard to a safe location.
  2. Call 911; notify emergency personnel if you have been exposed or have information about the hazard.
  3. Alert others to stay clear of the area.

Detailed Response Guidelines:


If caught at the scene of a spill:

  • Call 9-1-1 or the local fire department to report the nature and location of the spill as soon as possible.
  • Move away from the spill scene and help keep others away.
  • Do not walk into or touch any of the spilled substance. Try not to inhale gases, fumes and smoke. If possible, cover mouth with a cloth while leaving the area.
  • Stay away from accident victims until the hazardous material has been identified.
  • Try to stay upstream, uphill and upwind of the spill.

How you may be notified of a major Haz Mat incident

  • In the event of a major chemical emergency, you will be notified by the authorities. To get your attention, a siren could sound, you may be called by telephone, or emergency personnel may drive by and give instructions over a loudspeaker. Officials could even come to your door.
  • Listen carefully to radio or television emergency alert stations (EAS), and strictly follow instructions. Your life could depend on it.

  • You will be told…

    • The type of health hazard
    • The area affected
    • How to protect yourself
    • Evacuation routes (if necessary)
    • Shelter locations
    • Type and location of medical facilities
    • And the phone numbers to call if you need extra help.
  • Do not call the telephone company, and do not call EMS, 9-1-1, or the operator for information. Dial these numbers only for a possible life-threatening emergency.


  • You can provide a minimal amount of protection to your breathing by covering your mouth and nose with a damp cloth.
  • Close all windows
  • Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems
  • Go to an above-ground room (not the basement) with the fewest windows and doors.
  • Wet some towels and jam them in the crack under the doors.
  • Stay in the room and listen to your radio until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.


  • Authorities may decide to evacuate an area for your protection. Again, it is important to stay calm, listen carefully and follow all instructions.
  • If you are told to evacuate, listen to your radio to make sure the evacuation order applies to you and to understand if you are to evacuate immediately or if you have time to pack some essentials. Do not use your telephone.
  • **If you are told to evacuate immediately: **
    • Take your personal belongings and medications
    • Close and lock your windows
    • Shut off all vents
    • Lock the door
    • Move quickly and calmly


  • Return to building only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Follow local instructions concerning the safety of food and water.
  • Clean up and dispose of residue carefully. Follow instructions from emergency officials concerning clean-up methods.

Keeping Updated

  • UW Information Line (recorded message) 206-UWS-INFO, Toll Free: 1-866-897-INFO
  • Red Alerts” on UW Home page
  • Your supervisor, department/college administrator or building coordinator
  • KOMO 1000 AM Emergency Alert System

Additional Information:

(source: http://www.washington.edu/emergency/hazards/hazmat)