Chemical Emergencies

A chemical emergency can happen anywhere, anytime, as the result of a fire, explosion or a chemical spill at a fixed site, or from a road or train accident.

The best way to protect yourself in a chemical emergency is to shelter inside, shut all windows and doors and turn off any ventilation systems, and listen to emergency service broadcasts.

Broadcast updates will be regular, and the emergency services will inform you when it is safe to open windows and doors, or leave your home.

Evacuation is not the safest option when exposed to a short-term release of toxic chemicals.

The fresh air inside a building can provide protection for several hours.

Once you are inside:

  • close all windows and doors
  • turn off heating, air-conditioning and fans
  • shut or cover air vents
  • choose a room with as few exterior windows or other openings as possible. Close curtains and blinds
  • gaps around windows or under doors can be sealed with towels, blankets, duct tape or plastic
  • tune your radio to local ABC or any commercial radio station or view the current advices and warning on the Vic Emergency website.
  • continue to listen to this station for additional information about when and how to end shelter-in-place
  • do not call triple zero unless there is a life threatening situation

You may not be able to see or smell anything because many gases are colourless and odourless. Follow the instructions of emergency services.


Languages Other Than English (links to PDF translations)

How to stay safe during chemical emergencies, provided in 15 different languages.

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Dial 000 for emergency