La Salle County EMA provides safety tips for handling hazardous materials

Free smart phone application provides help on what to do in household chemical emergency

La Salle County Emergency Management Agency announced April as Hazardous Materials and Household Chemical Awareness Month in an effort to educate and empower community members to recognize, handle and respond to hazardous materials in their everyday lives.

Hazardous materials are substances that, because of their nature, pose a risk to human health, the environment and property. They can be found in various forms, including household cleaners, automotive products, paints and other common household items. The improper handling or disposal of these materials can lead to serious consequences. To help citizens to safeguard their lives and property, La Salle County EMA provides the following tips:

Identification: Learn to recognize common household items that may contain hazardous materials. Look for warning labels, symbols and follow manufacturers’ instructions.

Storage: Safely store hazardous materials out of reach of children and pets, and in a cool, dry place. Keep products in their original containers to preserve important information.

Disposal: Follow local guidelines for proper disposal of hazardous materials. Do not pour chemicals down drains or throw them in the trash. Utilize community hazardous waste collection events or drop-off locations. Information on recycling can be found at www.lasallecountyil.gov/411/Recycling.

Alternatives: Explore environmentally friendly alternatives to hazardous products. Many eco-friendly options are readily available and can contribute to a safer home environment.

“According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 1,700 home fires are caused by instances of spontaneous combustion or chemical reaction,” said EMA director Fred Moore in a news release. “I encourage all residents to read and follow label instructions on properly storing and disposing of household hazardous waste.”

La Salle County Emergency Management provides a free smart phone application, available from the app stores, that provides preparedness information on what to do before during and after a household chemical emergency and additional information can be found at www.ready.gov/household-chemical-emergencies.