Hazardous Materials

Chemical agents are poisonous vapors, aerosols, liquids and solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants.  Many chemicals are used at home and in the workplace, and mixing the wrong chemicals together can cause a hazardous materials incident. 

  1. Before an Emergency

Have a Plan

  • Know your evacuation routes.
  • Understand what chemicals might be stored in areas that you frequent
  • Know the signs - many dead or dying animals, plants, odd smells, odd clouds or vapors can all be signs of a chemical exposure. 
  • Store chemicals in your home properly.  Do not store wet products on a shelf over dry products.  Store chemicals on the floor if possible. 
  • Follow instructions on chemical containers.  Read directions carefully and make sure you are not mixing chemicals that could cause an unsafe reaction like bleach and ammonia.
  • Properly dispose of chemicals when you no longer need them.  Chemicals, paints, and electronic materials can be accepted from County residents at the County Landfill, located at 3002 US Highway 421 North. The County also operates a mobile collection unit that visits  Visit the HazWagon website for more information.
  • If you have an access or functional need and may need additional help planning on what to do in a crisis, check out the NHC Access and Functional Needs Registry .
  • When disaster strikes, it may be safer to stay in your house, in your workplace, or another location.  Before an emergency, choose a location in your home to take shelter if it is too dangerous or too late to evacuate.

Make a Kit

  • Build your emergency supply kit and include things that are specific to your family.  Make sure the kit is portable enough to grab and go in case you have to evacuate. Be sure to include resources to shelter in place like duct tape, scissors, and plastic sheeting 
  • Bottled water may be safer than drinking tap water in a chemical emergency.

Stay Informed

  • The Environmental Protection Agency mandates that members of the community be able to learn about chemicals that are stored nearby.  The New Hanover Local Emergency Planning Committee (NHC LEPC) works with private and public sector partners, public safety officials, and the community to share information on what is stored in commercial facilities.  This group also focuses on supporting these commercial facilities with their emergency planning efforts and ensures local first responders have access to resources to quickly respond to emergencies at these sites.  
  • Have a way to get emergency notifications.  This can include downloading a weather app on the App Store or Google Play to receive emergency alerts. ensure that your cell phone is set to receive wireless emergency alerts, sign up for emergency alerts, or get a NOAA Weather Radio

Get Involved

  • All members of the fire departments in the County, beach towns, and the City of Wilmington have hazardous materials response training.  The Wilmington Fire Department also serves as the regional hazardous materials response team along with the North Carolina Emergency Management Regional Response Team.  
  • Make use of the County's unique HazWagon! The HazWagon is stationed at three locations - Ogden Park, Wrightsville Beach, and Carolina Beach - each week. It also visits Kure Beach on the first Saturday of each month (major holidays excluded). Residents can bring toxic materials and electronics to the HazWagon free of charge, as well as unpackaged food waste for the county’s composting program.  Visit the HazWagon page for more information on operation times and materials that can be acceptecd. 
  1. Stay Safe During an Emergency
  1. Stay Safe After an Emergency