Major industrial accidents

An industrial accident is a serious event that involves hazardous materials and that can have consequences for the surrounding population and environment. Depending on the nature of the products involved, the accident can take the form of a fire, an explosion or the emission of toxic or radioactive material. 

What to do before

Prepare an emergency kit.

Ask your municipality about industrial risks in your area, the emergency plans in force and how residents would be alerted in the event of an accident.

In an emergency or a disaster, you are the first person responsible for your safety (French only) and that of your family, as well as safeguarding your property. In the event of a disaster, however, municipalities are responsible for helping the people affected and for taking the necessary measures.

When a municipality's response capacity is insufficient, the Gouvernement du Québec provides assistance (French only) by deploying government resources to facilitate the return to normal, based on what is provided for in Québec’s national civil protection plan.

What to do during

Move away from the accident site and encourage other people to do so. 

Alert emergency services by calling 911.

If the situation requires it, authorities may ask you to

  • respect an order to take shelter or evacuate
  • respect the security perimeter 
  • avoid consuming water or certain foods
  • clean your home or possessions 
  • monitor physical symptoms that could appear

Follow your municipality and Urgence Québec social media feeds and consult local media outlets for information about the current situation and steps to be taken.

What to do after

If the authorities allow it and there is no risk to your safety, you can go home. It's best to go during the day, when problems and hazards are easier to see.

Make a list of the damage and take photos or videos as proof. Notify your municipality, insurance company and mortgage lender of the damage. For claim purposes, keep all receipts or proofs of purchase for damaged property.

Verify that your water is safe to drink. In case of doubt with respect to water colour, odour or taste, contact municipal officials before drinking it.

If the power has been off more than six hours, check the quality of food before eating it. Throw out any food that shows signs of deterioration. Consult Store or throw away your food after a power outage or flood (French only) for information on deciding what to keep and what to throw out from your refrigerator and freezer.

For the same reason, do not take any medications that must be stored in a cool place but were not. Return them to the pharmacy.

Pay attention to your reactions and those of your loved ones after experiencing a disaster:

  • Anxiety, distress or frequent crying
  • Apathy or loss of energy
  • Aggressiveness
  • Difficulty concentrating or confusion
  • Increased alcohol or drug use

Psychosocial support is available to you. Psychosocial intervention professionals are available to support, advise and direct you to resources tailored to your needs or those of your loved ones. Call Info-Social, at 811, and select option 2 to speak with a professional. This service is free and confidential, and it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For more information on the possible reactions after a disaster and on ways to help you, see the Getting better following a disaster page.

Last update: May 3, 2022

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