Technological + Industrial

Technological Hazards result from accidents or the failures of systems and structures, such as hazardous materials spills or dam failures.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials are chemical substances that while useful when handled properly, if released or misused can pose a threat to the environment or health. These chemicals are used in industry, agriculture, medicine, research, and consumer goods.

Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons, and radioactive materials. These substances are most often released as a result of transportation accidents or because of chemical accidents in plants.

Hazardous materials in their various forms can cause death, serious injury, long-lasting health effects, and damage to buildings, homes, and other property. Many products containing hazardous chemicals are used and stored in homes routinely. These products are also shipped daily on the nation’s highways, railroads, waterways, and pipelines.

Varying quantities of hazardous materials are manufactured, used, or stored at an estimated 4.5 million facilities in the United States--from major industrial plants to local dry cleaning establishments or gardening supply stores.

There are many types of hazardous materials. Chemicals are often reportable, potentially reportable or noticeable as inventory under the reporting requirements of the Hazardous Chemical Reporting (40 CFR Part 302), or as an environmental release under the reporting requirements of the Toxic Chemical Release Reporting: Community Right To Know (40 CFR Part 372).
These include chemicals with special characteristics which, in the opinion of the manufacturer, can cause harm to people, plants, or animals when released by spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing of in the environment (including the abandonment or discarding of barrels, containers, and other receptacles).

The Federal Motor Carrier Administration defines nine classes of hazardous materials, all of which must be labeled on transports carrying them. All DOT hazardous materials are listed in the DOT Hazardous Materials Guide.

Power Failure

The biggest Power Outage in U.S. history occurred on August 14, 2003, leaving roughly 50 million people without power. Power outages, or blackouts, can happen anywhere, and to anyone, so being prepared is important. Sudden power outages can be frustrating and troublesome, especially when they last a long time. If a power outage is 2 hours or less, don’t be concerned about losing your perishable foods. For prolonged power outages, though, there are steps you can take to minimize food loss and to keep all members of your household as comfortable as possible.

To help preserve your food during a power outage, keep the following supplies in your home:

One or more coolers—Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers work well.

Ice—Surrounding your food with ice in a cooler or in the refrigerator will keep food colder for a longer period of time during a prolonged blackout.

A digital quick-response thermometer— With these thermometers you can quickly check the internal temperatures of food to ensure they are cold enough to use safely.


Levees have been an important part of the National mitigation strategy. Mitigation is any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate future risk to people and property from natural or human-caused hazards and their effects. The flood protection levees, floodwalls and floodgates located throughout Louisiana are a key part of the region’s flood control system, which is dedicated to containing and managing the major waterways in the State.

More than half of Louisiana’s land is in a flood plain, and 41 percent of the continental U.S. drains into the Mississippi River Basin. This has created a unique situation in Louisiana, with flooding a part of the State’s history. Rains and high water very rarely have the disastrous results they once had for Louisiana, and levees have traditionally provided a tremendous benefit to communities.

There are hundreds of miles of levees within Louisiana. Some were originally built long ago, and others, in urban areas, were designed to reduce the impacts of flooding – but only for a certain sized flooding event. While levees can reduce the risk of flooding, it is important to remember they do not eliminate the risk. When levees fail, or are overtopped, the results can be catastrophic, as those in Louisiana know. It is important to understand how levees are expected to perform and what the potential consequences of failure would be. Putting levees in the proper context while assessing the hazard is the best way to manage and reduce the flood risks associated with levees. People who live or work behind levees have a personal responsibility for their safety.  Levee safety is a component of a broader flood risk management approach. It’s important to understand the evacuation plans, building codes and other mitigation efforts to be fully prepared.