Law and Public Safety

Law and Public Safety

Information For Citizens


Chemical Emergencies at Home


Learn about the chemicals that could pose a threat to you and members of your household. Contact agencies with expertise on hazardous household materials, such as the Missouri Poison Control Center (314-772-5200) or the St. Louis County Health Department (314-615-8958)

Get information from them about potentially dangerous household products and what to do if someone becomes poisoned with them. Ask specifically about how to treat poisoning caused by cleaners, germicides, deodorizers, detergents, drain and bowl cleaners, gases, home medications, laundry bleaches, liquid fuels, and paint removers and thinners.

Always call the Poison Control Center first (314-772-5200) before treating these or any other poisoning.

You may also want to check out our Household Chemical Emergency page for tips on what to do before, during and after a Household Chemical Emergency


Hazardous Materials Incidents

Hazardous materials are substances that, because of their chemical nature, pose a potential risk to life, health, or property if they are released. Hazards can exist during production, storage, transportation, use, or disposal of such substances. The best ways to protect yourself are to be familiar with the potential dangers, and be prepared to evacuate or shelter-in-place. You can learn more about what to do by reading our Hazardous Materials page.

Sheltering In Place

Whether you are at home, work or elsewhere, there may be situations when it's simply best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside.

There are other circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as "sealing the room," is a matter of survival. Use available information to assess the situation. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you may want to take this kind of action.

The process used to seal the room is considered a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between you and potentially contaminated air outside. It is a type of sheltering in place that requires preplanning.

To "Shelter In Place and Seal a Room"

  • Bring your family and pets inside.

  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.

  • Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems.

  • Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.

  • Go into an interior room with few windows, if possible.

  • Seal all windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Consider measuring and cutting the sheeting in advance to save time.

  • Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination.

  • You should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.


Learn How And When To Turn Off Utilities:

If there is damage to your home or you are instructed to turn off your utilities:

  • Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves.

  • Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves.

  • Teach family members how to turn off utilities.

  • If you turn the gas off, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to do this yourself.


Community Right To Know

In 1986, the Superfund law was amended to include, among other things, provisions to help increase public knowledge and access to information on the presence of hazardous chemicals in their communities and on releases of these chemicals into the environment. These provisions, which were added to the Superfund law as Title III, are commonly referred to as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

Under the Community Right-to-Know aspects of EPCRA, owners and operators of certain facilities are required to provide detailed information on the chemicals present at their facilities to several state and local organizations. These organizations include the Missouri Emergency Response Commission (MERC), the St. Louis County LEPC and your local fire district/department.

As part of the Community Right-to-Know provisions of EPCRA, the public has the right to access any of this information. Public access to detailed information on chemicals present in their communities is available during normal working hours from the LEPC or the MERC.

All requests to the St. Louis County LEPC for hazardous chemical inventory information must be made in writing to the LEPC Chairman:

LEPC Chair Michael Smiley
14847 Ladue Bluffs Crossing Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63017



The letter needs to contain the following information:


  • Name of the Agency or person requesting the information
  • Address of the Agency or person requesting the information
  • Name and Address of the facility about which information is requested
  • Type of information requested
  • Purpose of the request

The LEPC will respond to each request within 45 days of receiving the request.


When responding to a request for Tier II information, the LEPC must not disclose any information that has been designated confidential in the Tier II report.