Manmade Disasters

Man-made disasters can include hazardous material spills, fires, groundwater contamination, transportation accidents, structure failures, mining accidents, explosions and acts of terrorism. There are actions that we can take to prepare to react appropriately to these events. The key to acting appropriately to these man-made threats is to find out what you need to do and what you need to have in advance of a man-made emergency and to prepare to respond appropriately.

Hazardous Material Incidents

Hazardous materials are chemicals that if accidentally released can cause damage to the environment and health. Many chemicals that used in industry, agriculture, medical research, and in our homes can become hazardous if properly used. Many hazardous materials are transported by rail or road and can be subject to accidental release.

If there is a hazardous materials incident in your area, be prepared to evacuate the area or to Shelter-In-Place. Follow the instructions from Police, Fire and other authorities. If you see an accident that involves a hazardous materials release, call 911 immediately and report it. Keep away from any substance that is leaking, do not touch any substance, and do not breathe any fumes that might be present.

The most important thing you can do is to follow the instructions of authorities so you do not mistakenly put yourself in danger.


No one is immune from terrorism. Terrorism can come from outside the United States (911) or it can be the result of the actions of other Americans (the Oklahoma City Bombing). Terrorism is designed to disrupt our lives and to scare us into making changes in our national goals. Terrorism does not always have to mean large number of causalities but as we have seen, terrorism can result in large numbers of deaths.

Preparing for terrorism is generally the same as what you should do to prepare for any emergency. Have a Home Disaster Plan and a Home Disaster Kit, and learn how to Shelter-In-Place. Also, be aware of your neighborhood. If you see something unusual, report it to the proper authorities.

Biological attacks involve the release of germs or other biological substance that results in illness. Some of these substances are not contagious (anthrax) while others (small pox) are very contagious. If we were to experience a biological terrorist attack, the Wichita Falls/Wichita County Public Health Department will provide instructions on what you will need to do to protect yourself and your family. Terrorist chemical attacks are the deliberate release of a toxic chemical. If you suspect a chemical release, take immediate action to get away from the effected area. You may be instructed to Shelter-In-Place. In some cases, it is safer to Shelter-In-Place than to evacuate. You need to listen to the proper authorities to find out what you need to do to keep yourself and your family safe.

A terrorist radiological attack is the release of radiological material. This could be done by placing radiological material in a public place or spreading radiological material by combining it a conventional explosive. Again, listen for instructions on what you need to do to protect yourself and your family. Generally, the best way to protect yourself from radiation is to increase your distance from the source of the radiation, keep something between you and the radiation and limit the time you are exposed to the radiation.