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Infectious Disease and Hazardous Chemicals

Infectious Disease Outbreak

In case of a respiratory (airborne) infectious disease outbreak, the most important thing to do is to listen to the radio and follow recommendations to prevent and contain the spread of the disease.

Respiratory infections are generally spread by small droplets in the air that can settle on surfaces. To prevent the spread:

  • Cover your mouth when you cough/sneeze (with a tissue or into your elbow)
  • Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner
  • Limit your contact with others
  • When contact is necessary, keep at least 2 metres away from others
  • Clean surfaces and contact points (contact points include door knobs, counters, and other high traffic areas)


Hazardous Chemical Release

Responding to an emergency involving a spill or a fire resulting from a hazardous spill is the same as all other emergencies, except that you may be evacuated or be advised to “shelter in place”.

“Shelter in place” means to remain indoors during the release of an airborne hazardous material. You should move out of the way of smoke or fumes and seek shelter indoors.  DO NOT go through smoke or fumes.  Remaining inside a building or vehicle can reduce your exposure to 1/10 of that of the outdoors. Close all doors and windows tightly.  Shut off air conditioners, fans, and close all dampers, etc. which bring air in from the outside. Do not use kitchen fans, bathroom vents, clothes dryers, fireplaces, etc. Compartmentalize your house by closing all interior doors.   Place wet towels under doors to prevent the entry of smoke and fumes into your home. If fumes threaten you, cover your mouth and nose with a wet handkerchief or towel. Monitor your radio or television for additional information or instructions.

Evacuate only if told to do so and do not approach the scene of the release. Back off as quickly as possible. Listen to the advice of local emergency officials on the radio or television to determine what steps you will need to take to protect yourself.

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