Chemical Disaster Response PlanningbyMr. G. S. SainiDirector, National Civil Defence College
Scenario #1 • You are a Safety officer of your Plant. • You receive a call from a worker reporting a person down, clutching his throat and coughing. • Upon arrival at the scene you notice several people in the immediate vicinity also down • Some are clutching their chests and some are coughing heavily.
Scenario #1 Questions • What is happening? • Is this a normal reaction for a heart attack? • Is it likely that five people have had heart attacks at the same time and place?
Scenario #2 • Now people are staggering away from the scene • All are complaining of blurred vision & red teary eyes.
Scenario #2 Questions • What might we be dealing with? • Are we dealing with something other than a heart attack? • Could this be caused by something in the atmosphere?
Scenario #3 • People are starting to run from the scene. • Some people have lost consciousness.
Scenario #3 Questions • What could account for all these symptoms? • What would you look for as the cause?
Observations of Incident • There is no debris, which might indicate a blast • No smoke or fire is apparent • There are multiple casualties, without the presence of trauma • It was a sudden onset
Operational Clues • Clues that indicate a chemical incident • Symptoms exhibited in multiple casualties that are normally seen in a single person. • Multiple casualties for no apparent reason • Multiple casualties without trauma • Escalating number of victims • Escalating symptoms of the victims
Solution • Observations indicate a toxic chemical agent has caused the incident • Symptoms indicate victims have likely been exposed to a choking agent- CHLORINE
What is the Next Move? • Call in support based on • Increasing number of victims • Responder hazard (first response was for a unknown factor, now there is a chemical hazard) • Need for additional equipment • Protect yourself • Treat the victims
Hazard • “Any substance/operation that poses an unreasonable risk to life, property or the environment.”
Hazardous Material • “Any substance that poses an unreasonable risk to life, the environment, or property when not properly contained.”
How to Identify ? Hazardous materials pose many problems. One of the obvious problems is determining what constitutes a hazardous materials incident. Many agencies are involved with the handling, use, and the problems associated with hazardous materials. Each of these agencies has identified hazardous materials as it relates to their realm of service.
Definition • OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NIOSH) views a hazardous material from the standpoint of potential hazard. They rate conditions that may cause injury or death as they are found in the working environment, whether they are obvious or not.
Problems • The problems encountered at a hazardous materials incident are many. The primary threats involve injury to the emergency worker and harm to the community. • Without emergency personnel, the situation cannot be handled in a safe or timely manner. When dealing with this type of incident, personal safety should always be the primary concern
Hazardous Chemical Incident • Methylisocyanate (MIC) incident at Bhopal, India • 3,300 people killed immediately; 16,000 after ten years • 40 tons of MIC released that covered 20 Km2 • Over 500,000 people suffered effects of gas • Ground water hazard for ten years
Effects of Hazardous Chemicals • Any substance that can result in harmful effects • Immediate (acute) • Delayed (minutes or hours) • Long Term (chronic) • Temporary effects • Permanent effects
Toxic Chemical Routes of Entry Eyes Skin Respiratory tract Ingestion Injection
Intensity of Effects • Varies by • Type of chemical • Exposure (time X amount) • Physical health • Age • Weather (wind, temperature, rain)
Coughing Constricted pupils, red teary eyes Bleeding or hemorrhaging Strong or unusual smell Strange behavior Convulsions Unconsciousness Symptoms
Symptoms • Difficulty breathing • Blurred vision • Runny eyes and nose • Slurred speech, disorientation • Skin irritation • Nausea • Sudden headache • Weakness If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately
Safety is a Matter of Attitude • Negative attitudes promote: • Carelessness • Recklessness • Overconfidence • Positive safety attitudes promote: • Planning ahead • Openness to new ideas • Alertness
Multiple Hazard Characteristics • Explosive • Flammable • Thermally unstable • Reactive • Poisonous • Infectious • Radioactive • Corrosive
Safety Keypoint #1 • “Always consider the possibility of multiplehazardous characteristics in each hazard class.”
Safety Keypoint #2 • “Approach all hazardous material incidents from upwind, upgrade, and upstream, positioning vehicles and apparatus headed away from the incident scene.”
Distance is an Ally • Distance Safety Factors • 100' 1 • 200' 2 times • 300' 4 times • 400' 16 times • 500' 256 times
Staging Area • A safe haven for personnel and equipment that allows a 3 minute scene access from a safe distance should the incident suddenly escalate
Outward Warning Signs • People running from the hazardous area
Outward Warning Signs • People running from the hazardous area • People collapsed inside the hazardous area
Outward Warning Signs • People running from the hazardous area • People collapsed inside the hazardous area • Evidence of fire indicated by smoke
Outward Warning Signs • People running from the hazardous area • People collapsed inside the hazardous area • Evidence of fire indicated by smoke • A loud roar of increasing pitch from an operating relief valve
Outward Warning Signs • People running from the hazardous area • People collapsed inside the hazardous area • Evidence of fire indicated by smoke • A loud roar of increasing pitch from an operating relief valve • Evidence of a leak indicated by a hissing sound
Outward Warning Signs • People running from the hazardous area • People collapsed inside the hazardous area • Evidence of fire indicated by smoke • A loud roar of increasing pitch from an operating relief valve • Evidence of a leak indicated by a hissing sound • Birds and insects falling out of the sky
Rescue Considerations • The Victim • Has the presence of the person(s) requiring rescue been confirmed visually or by credible sources? • How long has the person(s) been exposed to the hazardous material? • Is the person viable? • Is the person(s) requiring rescue trapped in a vehicle or by debris?
Rescue Considerations • The Product • What are the hazards of the material involved? • Is a fire or explosion likely? • How fast is the product leaking from it’s container? • Is the person(s) directly exposed to the product or it’s vapors?
Rescue Considerations • The Responder(s) • Does the responder have adequate training? • Is appropriate protective equipment available? • Are there sufficient personnel present to provide back-up? • How long must responders be exposed in the process of attempting rescue? • Are the proper tools available?
Rescue Considerations • Physical Factors • Must the vehicle or entrapping debris be stabilized? • Can the flow of product be diverted away from victim or stopped altogether? • Is access to the person difficult due to steep terrain or other reasons?
Safety Keypoint #3 • “In a hazardous material incident you may have to delay attending to the injured in order to save the lives of many others”
Scene Control • Initial actions taken to secure the scene will save many lives by preventing “convergence” into the hazardous area.
Safety Keypoint #4 • First operational priority: • Isolate the hazard area and deny entry.
Establish Perimeters • Establish inner perimeter first. • Initially establish a large outer perimeter by closing major roadways into the area by using incoming response units. • Downwind perimeters should be 2-3 times larger than other perimeter boundaries.
Safety Keypoint #5 • Only those emergency personnel in the proper protective clothing and positive pressure SCBA, “who are actively performing emergency operations” are to operate within the inner perimeter.”
Emergency Response Plans • Must identify minimum perimeter distances to be utilized by the emergency responders for the protection of both the emergency responders and the citizens.
Scene Safety After surveying the scene: • Set up zones HOT WARM COLD • Control the scene
The HotZone • Center = center of the incident/explosion • First perimeter = location of the farthest piece of evidence • ‘y’ = distance between the center and perimeter y shrapnel y=100 meters
x The Warm Zone • Half the distance • Likely place for a second device • Distance between Hot and Warm zone is ‘x’ X=50 meters
CP The Cold Zone • Where the incident command post is set up • Choose the point which provides the most safety