Many tons of corrosive, explosive, inflammable, radioactive, toxic and oxidizing (that can cause the combustion of another material on contact) materials are transported across Québec on any given day.
Although the transportation of hazardous materials is regulated, accidents can occur if there is a spill, a leak or an explosion.
What to do before
Prepare an emergency kit .
Prepare a family safety plan .
Learn the meanings of the pictograms used to identify hazardous materials , as this will enable you to properly protect yourself. Such pictograms are found on the containers used to store hazardous materials or on the vehicles that are transporting them.
What to do during
Move away from the scene of the accident and invite other witnesses to do the same
Alert emergency services by calling 911
Avoid smoking near the scene of the accident
In the event of a spill or leak of a product, avoid all contact with the product in question. If you have been splattered with the product, inform the first responders, even if there are no visible effects.
Depending on the situation, the authorities may ask you to:
- comply with a shelter-in-place order or an evacuation order
- respect a security perimeter
- refrain from drinking water or eating certain foods
- clean your home or belongings
- be alert to the appearance of certain physical symptoms
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
You may return to your home when officials have given their permission and it is safe to do so. Return home during the day when it is easier to see problems and hazards. Visit the government’s reintegration page for important advice and safety recommendations.
When you arrive, take pictures or videos to document the damage to your home and notify your insurer.
Verify if your water is potable, that is, if it is safe to drink. If the colour, odour or taste of your drinking water is questionable, contact the municipal authorities before consuming any.
If the power has been off more than six hours, check the quality of food before eating it. Throw out any food with signs of deterioration. Consult Panne de courant et alimentation - quoi garder et quoi jeter (French only) for information on deciding what to keep and what to throw out from your refrigerator and freezer.
Pay attention to stress reactions after a disaster:
- Apathy or loss of energy
- Increased alcohol or drug use
Appropriate psychological guidance can help you cope with responsibilities stemming from the situation. Contact Info-Santé at 811 and select Info-Social to speak with a social worker. This confidential service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Other useful links
- Transportation of Hazardous Materials (MTQ) (in French only)
- Urgence-Environnement (in French only)
- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
Last update: August 12, 2020