Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials can include explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons and radioactive materials that, when involved in an accident and released in sufficient quantities, put some portion of the general public in immediate danger from exposure, contact, inhalation, or ingestion. Hazardous materials are highly regulated by federal and state agencies to reduce risk to the general public and the environment. Despite precautions taken to ensure careful handling during the manufacture, transport, storage, use, and disposal of these materials, accidental releases do occur. Often, these releases can cause severe harm to people or the environment if proper mitigation action is not immediately taken. 

Hazardous Materials

hazardous materials response team

The Berrien County Hazardous Materials Response Team are specially trained to deal with a wide variety of hazardous materials in Berrien County, but also has letters of agreement to respond to those events in the surrounding counties of southwestern Michigan. The team is also a part of the states Regional Response Team and are trained and equipped to respond to, and mitigate, an event of terrorism, sabotage, or WMD should one occur anywhere in Michigan.

local emergency planning committee

Berrien County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) are responsible for collecting information about hazardous materials in the community and planning, which is available to the public upon request. The Emergency Management and Homeland security division serves as the LEPCs point of contact for operations.

hazardous materials Incident tips

  • Build an Emergency Supply Kit
  • Make a family emergency plan.
  • Know how to operate your home's ventilation system. 
  • Identify an above ground shelter room with as few openings as possible. 
  • Listen to local radio or television stations for emergency information.
  • Do not walk into or touch any spilled liquids, airborne mists, or condensed solid chemical deposits. 
  • Try not to inhale gases, fumes, and smoke. 
  • Follow decontamination instructions from local authorities. 
  • Seek medical treatment for unusual symptoms. 
  • If asked to shelter in place, go inside, close all windows and vents and turn off all fans, heating, or cooling systems. 
  • If you are told to evacuate do so immediately.
  • Stay away from the danger area. 


Additional Resources