Hazardous chemicals release

Hazardous chemicals can be released by accident or by a deliberate criminal act. They range from:

  • household chemicals  
  • more toxic industrial chemicals
  • highly toxic chemical warfare agents.

Exposure could cause serious or fatal injury. Emergency services will identify the hazard and tell you what to do. You may be asked to either remain in the protection of your home or workplace and seal windows and doors, or to evacuate the area.

If the chemicals are heavier than air, emergency services may ask you to move to higher ground.

For your safety, in all circumstances, listen to advice from emergency services.

Evacuation information

If you are asked to evacuate your area during an emergency:

  • When directed by emergency services, turn off the electricity, gas and water, unplug appliances, and lock doors and windows.
  • Take your emergency kit with you, including important documents, or as much as you can manage.
  • Listen for emergency warnings and safety advice on ABC 774AM or television.
  • Leave as quickly as possible as you may become more endangered the longer you stay.
  • Allow for special needs of infants, the aged and people with disabilities.
  • Consider your pets.
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, a hat and sturdy shoes (preferably all made from natural fibres) so you can be protected as much as possible.
  • If you have a mobile phone, take it with you, along with a spare battery or charger.
  • Collect family members or go to your agreed meeting place.
  • Use travel routes specified by emergency services. Do not use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable or dangerous.
  • Stay away from fallen power lines.
  • If you go to an evacuation or relief centre, register your details at the registration desk.
  • If you evacuate to a relative or a friend's house, consider registering with the local evacuation centre to help others find you.
  • Call your out-of-town contact and let them know where you are going.
  • Follow the instructions issued by emergency services.
  • When you return to your home after being told it is safe to do so, open windows to provide ventilation.

If you plan to self-evacuate prior to an imminent emergency event, ensure it is safe to do so, follow emergency service advice and leave early taking into consideration all the points listed on this page.