If you are caught outdoors in the vicinity of a hazardous materials incident, should you try to move away from the release?

If you are caught outdoors during a hazardous materials incident, it is advisable to move away from the release. Specifically, you should try to stay upstream, uphill, and upwind of the incident.

In the context of emergency management, particularly within the Incident Command System (ICS), the guidance to move upstream, uphill, and upwind is crucial for ensuring public safety during hazardous materials incidents. The ICS, a standardized approach to the command, control, and coordination of emergency response, emphasizes the importance of public awareness and self-protection measures in such scenarios. For example, during a chemical spill, the ICS would manage the incident while also disseminating information to the public about safe evacuation routes and procedures.

From the perspective of emergency responders, the public’s ability to self-evacuate effectively in hazardous materials incidents is seen as a vital component of overall incident management.

Another important aspect of managing hazardous materials incidents is the role of local emergency planning committees (LEPCs). These committees are responsible for developing emergency response plans that include procedures for public notification and evacuation in the event of a hazardous materials release.

Finally, it is essential for individuals to be aware of the signs of a hazardous materials release and to understand the importance of evacuating the area promptly. Signs such as unusual odors, visible clouds or mists, and physical symptoms like irritation or difficulty breathing indicate the presence of hazardous substances.

Source: https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=is-5.a&lang=en