Explosions can be accidental or intentional. Depending on the location and contents of the exploded object, hazardous chemicals, radiation, or biological agents may be released into the surrounding area, which may be hazardous to humans, pets, livestock,

and/or the environment.

Know the risks for your community:

  • Do you live near a chemical, gas, fertilizer, or nuclear plant?
  • Do you live near an oil rig or drilling site?
  • Do you live near a railroad track that carries hazardous or flammable materials?
  • Do you live near a highway where trucks carry hazardous or flammable materials?
  • Do you live near a shipping channel or port where ships carry hazardous or flammable materials?

How to respond to an explosion:

  • Check the radio, TV, internet, or social media for instructions from emergency management officials.
  • Follow instructions from your local officials whether to evacuate or shelter in place.
  • If the building you are in at the time of the explosion is unstable, do not stay in the building. Leave the building and get to a safe location.

The most frequent injury from an explosion is to the eardrum. Other injuries may occur from being thrown by the blast, being hit by flying debris, or being crushed by falling objects. If injured, cover wounds and seek medical attention.

Use caution when moving through or clearing debris after an explosion:

  • Watch for broken glass and exposed nails. Seek medical attention if injured, particularly for puncture wounds.
  • Explosions may include the release of hazardous chemicals, radioactive materials, or biological agents.
  • Ash and dust from the explosion or burned buildings may contain toxic and/or cancer-causing chemicals, including asbestos, arsenic, and lead:
    • Adults should use a protective respirator mask (N-95 or P-100) while cleaning up areas with uncontrolled ash particles.
    • Children should not be in the area while cleanup is in progress.
  • Ground that appears solid may have ash pit areas containing live coals. Use extreme caution when walking on terrain affected by fire after an explosion.