Hazardous Materials

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons, and radioactive materials. Hazards can occur during production, storage, transport, use, or disposal. The Rice community is at risk if a chemical is used unsafely or released in harmful amounts into the environment.

What to Do

If you are asked to evacuate:

  • Evacuate immediately.
  • Monitor Rice Alert updates closely through your phone and follow emergency guidance.
  • If you have time, minimize contamination to your living area by closing windows and shutting vents.
  • Bring essential items (medications, chargers, etc.) and an emergency kit with you.

If you are caught outside:

  • Stay UP (upstream, uphill, and upwind). Try to go at least one-half-mile (8-10 city blocks) from the danger area.
  • Do not walk into or touch any spilled liquids, airborne mists, or condensed solid chemical deposits.
  • Try not to inhale gases, fumes, and smoke. If possible, cover the mouth with a cloth or mask while leaving the area.
  • Stay away from accident victims. Allow emergency personnel to manage the situation.

If you are in a motor vehicle:

  • Stop and seek shelter in a building.
  • If you must remain in your car, close car windows and vents and shut off the A/C and heater.

If asked to stay indoors:

  • Bring pets inside.
  • Close and lock all exterior doors and windows. Close vents and as many interior doors as possible.
  • Turn off air conditioners and ventilation systems, or set ventilation systems to 100% recirculation.
  • If gas or vapors could have entered the building, take shallow breaths through a cloth or towel.
  • Avoid eating or drinking food or water that may be contaminated.
  • Seal gaps under and around the following areas with wet towels, plastic sheeting, duct tape, wax paper, or aluminum foil:
    • Doorways and windows
    • A/C units
    • Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans
    • Stove and dryer vents

Laboratory Guidance:

How to Prepare

How to Recover

  • Monitor Rice Alert and other communication channels for continued emergency information and guidance.
  • Follow decontamination instructions from local authorities.
  • Call REMS at 713-348-6000 to seek medical treatment for unusual symptoms as soon as possible.
  • Place exposed clothing and shoes in tightly sealed containers.
  • Advise everyone who comes in contact with you that you may have been exposed to a toxic substance.
  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Open windows and vents and turn on fans to provide ventilation.
  • Following a laboratory accident at Rice, file an Incident Report with EH&S.