Hazardous Material Spill

Hazardous Material Spill

What to Do Inside

  • Notify Public Safety from a safe location as soon as it is practical at (206) 296-5911 or one of the 'Blue Light' emergency phones located around campus.
  • If you are inside where a spill has occurred, immediately evacuate the building.
  • If you cannot evacuate, go to a protected, interior area of a building where toxic vapors are reduced, close all windows and doors and seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels and thick tape, such as duct tape.
  • If there is risk of an explosion, close all shades and draperies.
  • Stay away from the windows to prevent injury from flying glass.
  • If you suspect that gas or vapors have entered the building, take shallow breaths through a cloth or towel.

What to Do Outside

  • Notify Public Safety from a safe location as soon as it is practical at (206) 296-5911.
  • Move uphill and upwind; hazardous materials can be transported quickly through air and water.
  • Go to a protected, interior area of a building where toxic vapors are reduced.
  • Don’t attempt to clean up a spill.
  • Don’t touch or step in spilled materials.

What to Do After Exposure to Hazardous Materials

Corrosives: these are substances that cause visible destruction or permanent changes of the skin tissue upon contact.
  • Wash your eyes for 15 to 20 minutes if they are affected. Eyelids must be open; don’t rub the injured area.
  • Get under a shower, remove all clothing, and wash with soap and water.
Flammables: these are liquids with a flash point below 100 degrees F with vapors that burn readily.
  • Turn off the electricity main and gas jets.
  • Evacuate the building.
Toxics: these are poisonous substances.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Discard contaminated clothing or objects.
Reactives: these are substances that can undergo a chemical or other change that may result in explosions, burns, or corrosive or toxic conditions.
  • Close all doors.
  • Evacuate the danger area.
  • Follow decontamination instructions from local fire or health authorities.

Chemical, Biological, or Radiological (CBR) attack

A CBR attack involves a possible range of hazardous materials being disseminated through the air.

What to do

Remain indoors, close windows and doors (blocking space under the door with towels, blankets, or spare clothes), and turn off ventilation systems (heat, bathroom fans). We will follow a shelter in place process, indicating that persons should remain inside and keep doors and windows closed. Ventilation systems will be shut down as needed.

In case of a chemical, biological, or radiological attack, there may not be time to evacuate an area before the wind carries particles away from the point of origin. To prevent exposure to these agents, buildings can provide a barrier against airborne chemical or biological agents and clean air can be trapped inside of buildings providing hours of breathable air. Facilities Operations has installed equipment to assist in the campus sheltering in place plan by shutting down air handling systems. With time, prevailing winds can carry the hazard away, making it safe to leave again.

Shelter in place instructions can be found online at Seattle Emergency Management. 

How long will a shelter in place order last?

Although it's hard to determine, in most CBR attacks, clouds of particles will usually pass over an area within a few hours.