Disaster Preparedness: Chemical Spills

Master Disaster Checklist

If you want to keep your property, family, pets, and business safe during natural disasters, it’s important to be prepared. This master checklist gives you a good foundation for what to do, what to have, and what to plan for.

  • Secure Contact Information: Make sure you have a printed out copy as the power may be out and you might not have access to your computer or documents. Include names and telephone numbers, as well as out-of-town friends or family who might be able to help you. It’s important to have an out-of-town friend listed because your friends who live in your town might not be able to help you if a disaster affected them, too. Additionally, prearrange a nearby meet-up place after the emergency. It could be the local high school, a relative’s home, or a grocery store.
  • Have a Plan: Make sure that all of your family knows about your disaster plan (escape routes, where the emergency kit is stored, who to contact, and what to do in case of a natural disaster).
    • Identify a Safe Room: Point out which room is the safest room in your home. This should be an interior room without windows, if possible (maybe a closet or a bathroom). This is the place your family should seek shelter when storm warnings are issued.
  • Stay Informed: Make sure that you have a portable radio with fully charged batteries so that you can get the latest up-to-date information about the disaster. If you are in the path of the disaster, go to your pre-designated shelter area immediately.
  • Take Photos/Video of Your Property: If you have an inventory of your valuables and possessions you are likely to be able to claim up to 20% more insurance than if you don’t. Taking photos and videos with your cell phone is an easy way to document your items. Be sure to upload all the images to secure cloud backup and not just store on your property.
  • Charge Electronic Devices: During a disaster, you may lose power. Ensure your cell phone is fully charged, along with other electronic devices like tablets and laptop computers. Also, think about purchasing a solar-powered backup charging device.
  • Get Cash: When the power goes out, ATM machines won’t work. Get plenty of one dollar bills because not many people will have change for twenty and hundred dollar bills. Try to aim for ones, fives, and tens.
  • Fill Up on Gas: Fill your gas tank. When the power goes out, gas pumps won’t work.
  • Disaster Supplies Kit: A disaster supplies kit is essential to keeping you and your family safe. It should include non-perishable food, water, medical supplies, clothes, pet food and supplies, medications, batteries, flashlights, etc. Consider the following list: 
    • Flashlight
    • Batteries
    • First Aid Kits: For $20, you can have medical supply basics — all in one place — and ready to use. Minor as well as major injuries are possible during an earthquake and it’s possible that emergency services will be overwhelmed, so having a first aid kit is essential.
    • Solar Cell Phone Charger: Solar powered charges start in the mid-$20 range and go up from there. The best selling Amazon solar charger is $60 and is fast with “industrial-strength PET polymer faced solar panels sewn into a rugged polyester canvas offer weather-resistant outdoor durability.” If the power goes out, you might have no other way to charge your phone.
    • Crank-Powered Radio: You can pay upwards of $100 for a decent crank radio, but you don’t have to spend that much. The best-selling Amazon crank radio is only $20!
    • Emergency Water Filter: There’s no need for an expensive filtration system. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has 5,000 reviews and is only $20! The LifeStraw “removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns; surpasses EPA filter standards.”
    • Bottled Water (minimum of three gallons for each member of your family)
    • Battery-Powered Radio
    • Battery-Powered Lantern
    • Emergency Food Supply
    • Can Opener
    • Basic Tools (utility knife, pliers, wrench, tape, compass)
    • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, toilet paper)
    • Pencils and Paper
    • Pet Supplies (food, litter)
    • Rain Gear
    • Sleeping Bag
    • Change of Clothes
    • Plastic Garbage Bags
    • Face Masks
    • Gloves
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Cleaning Wipes
  • Have a “Go Bag”: Having an emergency bag packed with essentials (food, clothes, toiletries, cash, etc.) can save you time in a crisis. P.S. A little bit of toilet paper goes a long way…
  • Gather Your Important Papers: Keep all special papers and photographs in a watertight container or plastic bag. You know, all of those important things like bank account papers, birth certificates, property deeds, medical cards, social security cards, etc. as well as photos and important keepsakes which can never be replaced. During a disaster, they could all be ruined and washed away forever in one whoosh!
    • Identification (copy of driver’s license or passport)
    • Insurance Policies
    • Birth Certificates
    • Marriage Certificates
    • Proof of Residence (copy of lease, mortgage documents)
    • Deeds or Wills
    • Tax Returns
    • Social Security Cards
  • Plan for Your Pets: Many hotels and motels won’t accommodate your pets, so if your plan is to evacuate to a hotel, then you’ll need to find them a safe boarding kennels or cattery which is outside of the disaster’s impact zone. Be sure you have plenty of your pet’s preferred food and whatever medications they might need.
  • Refill Your Medications: Make sure that you have plenty of your prescription medicines on hand. If a disaster hits your area, the last thing you want to worry about is a medical emergency. 
  • Disaster Insurance: Check your insurance coverage as part of your disaster preparedness plan. Many home insurance policies do not cover hazards like flooding caused by hurricanes, for example. If you live in a disaster-prone area, consider getting insurance to cover damages.
  • Have a Plan for After the Disaster: After a disaster, get out of town until emergency services and law enforcement have gotten control of the situation. Unfortunately, like many other disaster situations, there are people who will try to take advantage of the chaos. It’s best to avoid being in the disaster zone until things are under control.

Disaster Preparedness Response for Chemical Spills: What You Need to Know

Chemical spills happen all the time, whether it be a chemical spill at work or in your home. The American Chemistry Council reports that approximately 10-15% of emergency calls are related to chemicals.

In addition, there is an average of one chemical release every day (National Geographic). What’s more shocking is that thousands die due to these releases each year with little warning and no preparation.


What are Some Common Chemicals That Can Cause Spills?

The following are some of the more common chemicals that people come into contact with:


Chemicals are found in many products that we use every day. Some of these chemicals can be hazardous if they are not used or stored properly. Chlorine is one of these chemicals.

Chlorine is a greenish-yellow gas with a strong, choking odor. It is used in many industries, such as water treatment and swimming pool disinfection. It can also be found in some household cleaning products.

Chlorine can be dangerous if it is inhaled or comes into contact with the skin or eyes. Short-term exposure to chlorine gas can irritate the nose, throat, and eyes and cause coughing and wheezing. Long-term exposure may damage the lungs and increase the risk of respiratory infections. Skin contact with chlorine can cause irritation and burns. Eye contact with chlorine can cause severe irritation and burns, as well as blindness.

If you come into contact with chlorine, it is important to remove any contaminated clothing and wash the affected area immediately with soap and water. If you are exposed to high concentrations of chlorine, seek medical attention immediately


Ammonia is a chemical that is found in many places. It can be harmful if ingested or inhaled. Ammonia can also cause serious fires if it’s mishandled.

Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide is a corrosive chemical that can cause burns and irritation if it comes into contact with skin or eyes. If ingested, it can also be harmful. If a spill occurs, it is important to take precautions to avoid contact with the chemical and to clean up the spill properly.

Hydrochloric Acid

Hydrochloric acid is a strong acid that can be found in many household cleaners and pesticides. It is a hazardous material that must be handled with care. If you spill hydrochloric acid, report the incident to your supervisor and EH&S immediately. Hydrochloric acid is a strong irritant and can cause serious burns if it contacts skin.

Sulfuric Acid

Sulfuric acid is a dangerous chemical that must be handled with care. It can be found in many places, including factories and laboratories. If sulfuric acid is spilled, it must be cleaned up carefully to avoid further injury or environmental damage.

Some common chemicals that can cause spills are sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and nitric acid. These acids are corrosive and can cause burns if they come into contact with skin. If swallowed, they can cause serious damage to the digestive system. Inhaling the fumes from these chemicals can also be harmful.

Nitric Acid

Nitric acid is a dangerous chemical that can cause serious harm if spilled. Nitric acid is found in many places, including laboratories and factories. If nitric acid is spilled, it can cause serious injury or death.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizing agent that can cause serious chemical burns. It is used in a variety of industrial and household applications, such as bleaching, cleaning, and disinfecting. If it comes into contact with the skin, it can cause irritation and burns. If ingested, it can cause vomiting and stomach pain. Inhaling hydrogen peroxide vapors can irritate the lungs and throat.


Benzene is a chemical that can be found in many products. It is harmful to the human body and has health effects. There are first aid steps for Benzene spills.

Benzene is a liquid with a sweet smell and is used in the production of plastics. It is found in numerous places, including air, water, soil, and oil. The health effects of benzene depend on the level of exposure and can include cancer and other diseases.


Toluene is a chemical found in many products, including paint and varnish. When ingested or absorbed through the skin, it can have harmful effects on the body. If Toluene is spilled, it must be cleaned up properly to avoid further damage. There are many different types of cleaners available, each with its own specific purposes. Some common cleaners include oven cleaners, drain cleaners, wood and metal cleaners and polishes, toilet cleaners, tub, tile and shower cleaners, bleach, pool chemicals, indoor pesticides, ant sprays and baits for insects and rodents. Automotive products include motor oil (lubricant), fuel additives like ethanol or octane boosters; car care products like motor oil conditioners or transmission fluid; air conditioning refrigerant freon; starter fluids; automotive batteries; transaxle fluid/brake fluid; antifreeze. Each Chemical Spill Kit contains one Toolbox/ PPE Spill Kit and two Universal Spill Absorbent Kits. A Toolbox should include a pen, marker, ties waste bags dustpan set tape instructions and PPE. A PPE Hot Zone Bag should be carried in the car and contain disposable gloves shoe covers. A Universal Spill Absorbent Kit should include a sock pads and weight to increase its effectiveness. Toluene is an absorbent that absorbs 2 litres of water.

Consider purchasing the following to help keep your family safe from chemical spills:

Safety Item

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel


This effective sanitizer eliminates 99.99% of germs and features a refreshing clean scent that evaporates quickly for convenient use when soap and water are not available.

Safety Item

Med PRIDE NitriPride Exam Gloves (100 Pack)


Protect your hands from bacteria with the skin-friendly, durable, and ambidextrous Medpride vinyl single use gloves. Great for medical, industrial, and personal uses.

Safety Item

Disposable Black Face Masks (100 Pack)


Protect yourself and your loved ones from harmful particles and allergens with this 100 pack of face masks.

What are the Dangers of Chemical Spills?

1. Dangers of chemical spills vary depending on the type of chemical involved.

The dangers of chemical spills vary depending on the type of chemical involved. Spills involving flammable or toxic chemicals present significant fire and explosion risks. If water is present, seek outside help as it can react with the chemicals. Release of vapors and dust can be harmful if inhaled. A chemical spill is not a health risk if it is low toxicity and does not have high corrosivity. Avoid direct contact with the chemical and seek outside assistance if necessary. Chemical spills can be minimized by having a stocked chemical spill kit and reacting quickly.

2. Immediate dangers of chemical spills include skin and eye irritations, difficulty breathing, and nausea.

If a chemical spill occurs, it can be dangerous to nearby people and the environment. Immediate dangers of chemical spills include skin and eye irritations, difficulty breathing, and nausea. If you come into contact with a chemical spill, it is important to wash the affected area with soap and water immediately. You should also seek medical help if you feel like you may have been exposed to the chemicals. If the toxicity of the spill is unknown, it is best to treat it as a potential human health hazard.

3. Long-term dangers of chemical spills may include cancer, organ damage, and reproductive problems.

The long-term dangers of chemical spills can include cancer, organ damage, and reproductive problems. These risks are present due to the release of harmful chemicals into the air, water, and soil. It is important to have a spill kit in case of a chemical spill. Radioactive material spills should be handled with caution due to the risks involved.

4. Chemical spills can also contaminate food and water supplies, which can lead to further health problems.

Chemical spills can contaminate food and water supplies. The release of flammable or toxic vapors and dust can create dangerous fire and explosion risks. If there is a potential for fire or explosion, contact trained emergency responders. Avoid direct contact with chemical spills to avoid health risks.

5. Chemical spills can also cause fires and explosions, which can cause property damage and injuries.

Chemical spills can cause fires and explosions, which can damage property and injure people. Spills can also release toxic fumes or chemicals into the air, which can be dangerous to breathe in. It is important to assess the risks of a chemical spill before taking any action. If the spill is large or poses a danger of igniting, it is best to seek outside assistance.



How Can You Prepare for a Chemical Spill?

Step 1: Attend to Personal Injuries

If someone is injured in a chemical spill, the first thing you should do is to roll them on the floor to smother the flame and drench them with water if available. If someone is splashed in the eyes, immediately rinse them with water for 15 minutes. If someone has a spill on their body, remove contaminated clothing and flood the area with running water from a faucet or safety shower for 5 minutes. If there is a biological spill, wash exposed area with soap and water. Immediately wash the area with soap and water to remove any chemicals. If there is a chemical spill, seek medical help immediately.

Step 2: Assess the Risk

When assessing the risk of a chemical spill, you need to consider the type of chemical that was spilled, the amount, and the hazardous characteristics. You should also be aware of the location of the spill and what personal protective equipment is available. Training your laboratory’s personnel is important in order to prevent any injuries or accidents from happening.

Step 3: Initiate Action

If you have determined that a chemical spill has occurred, you should immediately call 9-1-1 and report the spill. You should also clean up the spill as quickly and safely as possible. To determine the severity of a chemical spill, you need to know the hazard posed by the spilled chemical and the potential impact of the spill. The size of a chemical spill is often determinative of its severity. Clean up any spills immediately using proper methods and personal protective equipment. Report any spills to your colleagues and laboratory director as soon as possible.


Safety Item
OSHA ANSI First Aid Kit (326 Pieces)
9.4/10 Our Score

This comprehensive first aid kit is a must-have for any business or family. It contains 326 pieces of high-quality first aid treatment products that meet or exceed OSHA and ANSI guidelines. The fully organized interior compartments provide quick access to the contents, and the rugged, sturdy, high-density plastic case is impact-resistant and can be wall-mounted or folded for storage.

  • contains 326 pieces of comprehensive first aid treatment products that are manufactured from the highest quality facility
  • kit meets or exceeds OSHA and ANSI 2009 guidelines for 100 people
  • fully organized interior compartments provide quick access to contents
  • rugged, sturdy, high-density plastic case is impact-resistant
  • case can be wall-mounted or folds compactly for storage
  • easy slide latches securely lock the case into place


What Should I Do if There is a Chemical Spill Near Me?

If there is a chemical spill, the person responsible for the spill should take immediate action to clean it up. Make sure you have the appropriate spill control gear available, such as a spill kit. Follow the Chemical Spill Response Protocol guide if there is a spill. If you know how to clean it up and the amount spilled is small, you can clean it up. Otherwise, notify everyone nearby and follow the instructions in your departmental chemical hygiene plan or spill response plan.

Wear eye protection, gloves, and a lab coat if needed. Close the laboratory door to increase exhaust through the fume hood. Neutralize acids and bases if you have a spill kit. Avoid contact or splashing. Control the spread of the spill by using absorbents. Sweep the spill to remove solid chemicals. Use a safe and compatible solution to decontaminate the area. Collect and clean up any residues.

Individuals should place materials in a hazardous waste container provided by EH&S or in a compatible container to be transferred to a hazardous waste bucket when available. Label all waste containers for chemical content properly so that they can be disposed of as hazardous waste. Wash hands after cleanup. Report the spill to supervisor and EH&S.