Section 2: Guidance at the scene of an Incident
This section is intended to assist first responders (for example, police, fire or ambulatory services) or trained chemical responders arriving at the scene of an incident where bromine is involved. It is recognized that first responders may not have experience dealing with chemical emergencies or bromine related emergencies. When in doubt, first responders should err on the side of personal safety and await the assistance of trained chemical responders. Trained chemical responders typically have the equipment and experience necessary to effectively address a bromine spill or leak.
What to do if you are the first on the scene at a chemical spill.
Though Bromaid focuses on bromine, the following advice applies to situations involving any chemical. Bromaid recognizes that accidents involving bromine might also include other chemicals of a hazardous nature.
GENERAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
APPROACH CAUTIOUSLY FROM UPWIND. If wind direction allows, consider approaching the incident from uphill. Resist the urge to rush in; others cannot be helped until the situation has been fully assessed.
SECURE THE SCENE. Without entering the immediate hazard area, isolate the area and assure the safety of people and the environment, keep people away from the scene and outside the safety perimeter. Allow enough room to move and remove your own equipment.
IDENTIFY THE HAZARDS. Placards, container labels, shipping documents, material safety data sheets and/or knowledgeable persons on the scene are valuable information sources. Evaluate all available information to reduce immediate risks. As more information becomes available, the response should be further tailored to the situation.
ASSESS THE SITUATION. Consider the following:
- Is there a fire, a spill or a leak?
- What are the weather conditions?
- What is the terrain like?
- Who/what is at risk: people, property or the environment?
- What actions should be taken: Is an evacuation necessary?
- Is diking necessary? What resources (human and equipment) are required and are readily available?
- What can be done immediately?
OBTAIN HELP. Advise your headquarters to notify responsible agencies and call for assistance from qualified personnel.
DECIDE ON SITE ENTRY. Any efforts made to rescue persons, protect property or the environment must be weighed against the possibility that you could become part of the problem. Enter the area only when wearing appropriate protective gear.
RESPOND. Respond in an appropriate manner. Establish a command post and lines of communication. Rescue casualties where possible and evacuate if necessary. Maintain control of the site. Continually reassess the situation and modify the response accordingly. The first duty is to consider the safety of people in the immediate area, including your own.
ABOVE ALL. Do not walk into or touch spilled material. Avoid inhalation of fumes, smoke and vapours, even if no dangerous goods are known to be involved. Do not assume that gases or vapours are harmless because of lack of a smell—odourless gases or vapours may be harmful. Use CAUTION when handling empty containers because they may still present hazards until they are cleaned and purged of all residues.
WHO TO CALL FOR ASSISTANCE
Upon arrival at the scene, a first responder is expected to recognize the presence of dangerous goods, protect oneself and the public, secure the area, and call for the assistance of trained personnel as soon as conditions permit. Follow the steps outlined in your organization’s standard operating procedures and/or local emergency response plan for obtaining qualified assistance. Generally, the notification sequence and requests for technical information beyond what is available in this guidebook should occur in the following order:
Notify your organization/agency. This will set in motion a series of events based upon the information provided. Actions may range from dispatching additional trained personnel to the scene to activating the local emergency response plan. Ensure that local fire and police departments have been notified.
2. EMERGENCY RESPONSE TELEPHONE NUMBER
Locate and call the telephone number listed on the shipping document. The person answering the phone at the listed emergency response number should be knowledgeable of the materials and mitigation actions to be taken, or should have immediate access to a person who has the required knowledge.
3. NATIONAL ASSISTANCE
In all EU countries, National or International emergency response agency’s are in place. Local authorities can ask for assistance / expertise concerning dangerous goods in general and bromine more specific. Bromaid established close contacts with the following centres.
|NCEC / Carechem||UK and Ireland|
|Landelijk Informatiepunt Ongevallen Gevaarlijke Stoffen||Netherlands|
|MSE||France / Spain|
Upon receipt of a call describing the nature of the incident, the agency will provide immediate advice on handling the early stages of the incident. The agency will also contact the shipper or manufacturer of the material for more detailed information and request on-scene assistance when necessary.
Collect and provide as much of the following information as can safely be obtained to your chain of command and specialists contacted for technical guidance:
- Your name, call back telephone number, FAX number
- Location and nature of problem (spill, fire, etc.)
- Name and identification number of material(s) involved
- Shipper/consignee/point of origin
- Carrier name, rail car or truck number
- Container type and size
- Quantity of material transported/released
- Local conditions (weather, terrain, proximity to schools, hospitals, waterways, etc.)
- Injuries and exposures
Local emergency services that have been notified
The purpose of this document is to provide information and guidance to both bromine users and trained response personnel. The manual contains technical facts, engineering detail, health information and media response data.