6. December 2011 14:04
There are many valid and useful points that were made and some great firefighter humor as well. Most published documents on the net and even this forum are not designed to make you an expert on hazardous materials/WMD or on the regulations and standards that govern your response, but to help you become a more informed responder or perhaps make you stop and think. It’s not all about surround and drown or put the wet stuff on the red stuff… Stay Safe! As firefighters, EMS first responders, or law enforcement officers you all may have to respond to a Hazmat or even worse a WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) Incident. Being prepared and having the formal training for this type of situation is paramount to everyone’s safety… The first order of business when faced with a Hazmat or WMD incident is to establish scene control zones, implement ICS (Incident Command System), and use the basic reference materials such as the ERG (Emergency Response Guidebook). Scene Control Zones or Control Zones are defined as “Areas at a hazardous materials incident that are designated as HOT, WARM, or COLD, based on the issues and the degree of hazard found there.” Are you familiar with NFPA 472 or 473? If not you need to get acquainted with the Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents. The ERG is a preliminary action guide containing information regarding over 4,000 chemicals. The ERG should not be used to create a long term action plan. Once an incident goes beyond 15 minutes the ERG is no longer a good source of information and you need to seek additional information regarding the materials involved and have the appropriate agencies notified. With the placards displayed in the photos agencies that should be notified immediately are County, State, and Federal Offices of Emergency Management, State and Federal EPA, State and Federal Centers for Disease Control, Homeland Security, HMRT’s (Hazardous Materials Response Team), and probably others… Get your crew away from the HOT Zone!! Get current weather conditions and a future forecast of weather pattern changes, set up perimeters and EVAC residential neighborhoods. Ensure your crew is wearing PPE’s. Try to identify chemicals involved by getting MSDS info or a site representative. Gather as much information as possible for HMRT and other agencies responding… Turn over command ASAP to someone who has a better working knowledge of these types of incidents.
By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer