What to Do About Your Stored Pesticides in the Event of a Storm
Pesticide Information Program information sheet, PIP-41.
Prepared by Robert G. Bellinger, Extension Pesticide Coordinator (September 1999)
Also available in PDF format > >
Hurricanes and similar
storms, including tornadic winds and flooding, can wreak havoc with
agricultural operations. In addition to the disastrous effects that
spring to mind, such severe weather events can cause both dollar loss
and environmental pollution with respect to agricultural chemicals.
Fertilizers, pesticides, solvents, fuels, etc. can be physically lost,
contaminated themselves, or contaminate the surrounding environment and
environments "downstream" of chemical storage and use areas.
if the time comes, you will have a plan ready and know when to implement
it. Here is some guidance that I hope you won't need. Obviously this guidance
can be applied to any situations where pesticides and other chemicals are
used and stored, e.g. farms, golf courses, mosquito control operations, nurseries,
greenhouse operations, pest control firms, etc.
- Be aware of weather predictions on the morning, noon and evening news casts.
- Do not delay. You need to
take action EARLY to prepare for the potential of the hurricane now on
the weather screen. And remember, others can follow.
- Do an INVENTORY of what
pesticides and other chemicals you have on hand. Such an inventory will
be useful for insurance purposes, or in the event of necessary
pesticide or chemical clean ups. Include product and active
ingredient names, and container sizes in your inventory. Receipts for
the purchase of these materials are useful for this, or in some cases
may suffice themselves.
Do the inventory FIRST and do
it SOON, before you take other measures. Put the inventory in a safe
location. In the case of large scale storms, such as we saw in Hugo and
some other storms, it may be useful to make a copy of your inventory
and mail or fax it to a friend or business associate who lives outside
of the potentially affected area!
- Do you know
where your INSURANCE policy is? Do you know exactly what kind of
coverage you have? Does it cover your chemical inventory or the damage
it could cause? Find out NOW. If you need to know later, your insurance
agent will be VERY busy.
- At this point, consider
not using or making applications of agricultural chemicals, or at least
holding off, until the potential of this impending severe weather event
- Delay purchase or
delivery of additional chemicals to your operation until after the
impending storm risk is past. If you have any such deliveries scheduled
for the coming week you just may want to cancel them.
- Secure all of your
chemicals. This includes fertilizers, pesticides, solvents, fuels, etc.
Close and secure container lids, move containers and application
equipment to the most secure location. Raise chemicals from the floor
or cover materials that could be damaged by water. Do what you can to
protect product labels and labeling. Doors, windows and other points of
access to storage locations should be secured and locked. If you are
to board up windows on your house, do the same for pesticide and other
chemical storage areas. Don't leave chemicals in vehicles, or in
- As you prepare for this
or any other storm, as you scurry to put lots of things into secure
locations, be sure all of these items are compatable. Don't, for
instance, put pesticides and fuels in the same building with
animals, or animal feeds.
- NOW is the time to read
the storage and spill containment sections of your MSDSs. Round up your
pesticide and other chemical MSDSs and put these in a secure location.
And if you have not done so, provide local emergency first responders
with a copy of these, along with a copy of your chemical inventory.
- Secure your personal protective equipment. You may need it as part of your own cleanup operations after the storm.
- Be sure that your
buildings will stay where they are as much as possible! Are the roofs
tied into the building? Can you tie down small storage buildings and
- If you leave your
location during a severe weather event, be sure that buildings that
store pesticides and other chemicals are well signed.
- Have on hand all emergency phone numbers you need.
- Consult your chemical dealer and insurance agent for additional suggestions, but do it soon.
- Sit down NOW and think
about what you need to do to prepare for a storm. Think about what
kinds of things you will need and may need to do after a storm. Write
it all down. Get family members and others in your operation
help with this. They may need to help later.
- You may also want to read this publication done by IFAS, UFL called "Storm-Damaged
This fact sheet provides guidelines useful for persons or organizations
needing to secure pesticides and other agricultural chemicals that have
been subjected to severe storm conditions. Again, I hope this provides
guidance that won't be needed. (see link at the bottom of page)
- For pesticide emergencies
in South Carolina, the phone numbers for the South Carolina Dept. of
Pesticide Regulation at selected locations are:
|- Main office, Pendleton/Clemson, SC:
|- Columbia office (Sandhills REC):
|- Florence (Pee Dee REC):
For more information see Department of Pesticide Regulation > >
Additional Pesticides and Storms web
sites and publications:
- Storm-Damaged Agrichemical Facilities - IFAS, University of Florida. This fact sheet provides guidelines useful for persons or organizations needing to secure pesticides and other agricultural chemicals that have been subjected to severe storm conditions. Again, I hope this provides guidance that won't be needed.