Swimming Pool Chemicals: Emergency Response

A Rockland County homeowner mixed calcium hypochlorite (pool shock treatment) and hydrochloric acid in an aluminum pan in the kitchen of his home. The chemicals reacted and produced hydrogen and chlorine gas, resulting in an explosion. The explosion blew out a window and sent two adults to the hospital with breathing problems. Four firefighters required decontamination at the scene. The homeowner was advised not to re-enter the home until a hazmat contractor could be hired to complete the cleanup.

Immediate Actions

  • If victim has difficulty breathing:

    • Move victim to fresh air
    • Call 9-1-1
  • If chemical comes in contact with eyes:

    • Flush eyes with running water
    • Call 9-1-1
  • If chemical comes in contact with skin:

    • Remove any contaminated clothing
    • Flush skin with running water
    • Call 9-1-1

Helpful Tips to Avoid an Emergency

  • Educate yourself about pool chemicals.
  • Read labels before using chemicals and follow instructions.
  • Follow correct chemical storage guidelines.
  • Keep chemicals out of reach of children.
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment when handling chemicals.

For Additional Information

Send your questions and comments to bcehfp@health.ny.gov, or contact Swimming Pool staff at:

Center for Environmental Health
Bureau of Community Environmental Health & Food Protection
Empire State Plaza-Corning Tower, Room 1395
Albany, New York 12237
Phone: (518) 402-7600
Fax: (518) 402-7609