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When you have Unidentified Chemical and someone needs help! NOW!

I have been to sights were the chemical at the time was really not known and you were required to activate your emergency response plan and get people out, but what did you cover in chemical safety while you were doing this?

Your company site rescue people should

Pre-event preparation, training, and access to readily available information, field assessment, and safety equipment are critical to minimizing consequent deaths, injuries, and illnesses, and to promote overall workforce resilience.

Once the event occurs the responders are then placed under a time-urgent, dual-cognitive demand:

1) they must attend to the hazards (including attention to self and crew members’ safety and health), and

2) they must perform the work necessary to complete a rescue. In the post-event stage (72 hours after the incident), responders may assess potential exposures, conduct rescues, and attempt recovery activities in constantly changing and complex hazardous environments.

In responding to any incident, the first aid provider should first quickly assess the situation to ensure that, in trying to help, he or she is not at risk.

A toxic air contaminant and an electrical hazard are only two of the hazards that might influence if or how a first aid provider can safely respond to an accident.

Do Not:

Try to neutralize by adding another chemical

Remove anything that is sticking to the burn

Apply lotions, ointments, or fat to the injury

Break blisters or otherwise interfere with the injured area

If incident is severe, be prepared to give the following information before calling security:

·        Present location

·        Name of chemical

·        Extent of contact

There are four ways by which hazardous materials can invade your body. These are known as the routes of entry:

·        Inhalation

·        Skin absorption

·        Ingestion

·        Injection

In consideration of the potential exposures to hazardous chemicals through these routes of entry, first responders must be able to recognize the hazards associated with their emergency response and establish methods of preventing the exposure.

At this level of training, absent Personal Protective Equipment and a higher level of training, the only tactic to be used would be defensive. Awareness level training is designed to give those “first on the scene” better control through defensive conduct to prevent unnecessary exposures to chemicals and resultant injuries through the above routes of entry.

Remember that chemical could well be dangerous goods/hazmat related

PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

EXPLOSIVES: (Chemical explosives)

DEFINITION:

Chemical explosives are chemical compounds, mixtures or devices which when subjected to an initiating stimulation, such as heat, impact, contamination or friction, may undergo a rapid chemical changed producing large amounts of heat and gases.

PRINCIPLE HAZARDS:

·        Blast over pressure

·        Shock waves

·        Scattering fragments

·        Fires

·        Toxic atmospheres

DETECTION:

Class 1, Division 1.1

Class 1, Division 1.2

Class 1, Division 1.3

Class 1, Division 1.4

Class 1, Division 1.5

Class 1, Division 1.6

(Old Class “A” placard)

(Old Class “A” placard)

(Old Class “B” placard)

(Old Dangerous placard)

(Old Blasting Agent placard)

(Old Dangerous placard)

CONSIDERATIONS:

Evacuation, the recommended evacuation distance for LARGE quantities of explosives are:

Division 1.1

Division 1.2

Division 1.3

1 mile

1 mile

1500 feet

mass explosion hazard

projection hazard

mainly a fire hazard

BEWARE!

TOXIC FUMES ARE PRODUCED BY BURNING

OR DETONATED EXPLOSIVES.

COMPRESSED GASES: Class 2

DEFINITION:

A gas or a mixture of gases in a container, having an absolute pressure exceeding 40 psi at 70 degrees F or a liquid in a container having a vapor pressure which exceeds 40 psi at 100 degrees F.

PRINCIPLE HAZARDS:

Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion (BLEVE)

·        Explosion

·        Asphyxiation

·        Toxicity

·        Corrosiveness

·        Frost bite

·        Reactivity

·        Oxidizers

DETECTION:

·        Containers

·        Locations

·        Vapor clouds

·        Sounds of gas escaping

CONSIDERATIONS:

Evacuation: Consult reference materials such as the Emergency Response Guidebook for distances.

LIQUEFIED AND CRYOGENIC GASES: Class 2

DEFINITION:

A substance which is normally a gas at room temperature that has been converted to a liquid by pressure and/or cooling. If the boiling point of the gas is below -150 degrees F, then it is called a refrigerated or Cryogenic gas or liquid.

PRINCIPLE HAZARDS:

Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion (BLEVE)

·        Explosion

·        Asphyxiation

·        Corrosiveness

·        Frost bite

·        Reactivity

·        Oxidizers

Large expansion

DETECTION:

·        Containers

·        Location

·        Vapor clouds

·        Sounds

CONSIDERATIONS:

Evacuation, consult reference materials for distances.

FLAMMABLE AND COMBUSTIBLE LIQUIDS: Class 3

DEFINITION:

Liquid which gives off flammable vapors that ignite on contact with an ignition source.

FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS: Have a flash point below 150 degrees Farenheight.

COMBUSTIBLE LIQUIDS: Have a flash point between 150-200 degrees F.

PRINCIPLE HAZARDS:

Fire

BLEVE

·        Combustion explosion

·        Toxicity

·        Corrosiveness

·        Reactivity

·        Contamination of water

DETECTION:

Containers

Location

Odors

CONSIDERATIONS:

Containment – The following are the main methods for containing flammable liquids:

·        Dams

·        Dikes

·        Absorption

·        Isolation

·        Diverting

·        Covering

·        Containerizing

·        Plugging and patching

BE AWARE – that small spills in confined spaces, such as inside buildings carry a threat of explosive ignition that may not be present in outdoor spills.

FLAMMABLE SOLIDS: (Class 4, Division 4.1)

DEFINITION:

Any solid material, other than an explosive, that is liable to cause fire through friction or retained heat or that can be ignited readily, and when ignited burns at high temperatures and is difficult to extinguish.

PRINCIPLE HAZARDS:

Ignite easily and burn explosively

Air/Water reactive

Spontaneously combustible

Toxicity and corrosiveness

DETECTION:

·        Labels

·        Material Names (phosphorus, sodium, calcium carbide)

·        CONSIDERATIONS:

·        Keep dry

·        Cover

·        Do not handle without proper clothing

OXIDIZERS: Class 5

DEFINITION:

A substance that yields oxygen readily to stimulate combustion. Or a substance that accelerates the burning of other materials.

PRINCIPLE HAZARDS:

Supplies oxygen

Sensitive to heat, shock and friction

Reacts with organic materials spontaneously

Forms ignitable mixtures

DETECTION:

Labels

Names (Oxygen, Chlorites, Nitrates)

CONSIDERATIONS:

Containment: The method depends on the physical form of the material (gas, liquid, solid)

ORGANIC PEROXIDES: Class 5

DEFINITION:

A compound that contains the bivalent -O-O- oxygen structure and which may be considered to be a structural derivative of hydrogen peroxides where one or more of the hydrogen atoms have been replaced by an organic radical.

PRINCIPLE HAZARDS:

·        Explosive

·        Toxic

·        Corrosive

·        Flammable

·        Oxidizer

·        Reactive

·        Unstable

DETECTION:

Labels

Containers

Locations

CONSIDERATIONS:

Evacuate the area, treat as an explosive

Keep COLD if possible.

POISONS AND PESTICIDES: Class 6

DEFINITION:

Liquids, solids or gases which are toxic to humans, plants or animals.

Division 2.3

Division 6.1

Division 6.2

– Poison gases

– Poison

– Harmful, store away from foodstuff

PRINCIPLE HAZARDS:

Toxic

Contamination

Fire

DETECTION:

Location

Odor

Label

DANGER

WARNING

CAUTION

PELEGRO

Highly toxic

Moderately toxic

Slightly toxic

Spanish for danger

CONSIDERATIONS:

·        Control access

·        Decontamination

·        Evacuate

·        Control run-off

·        Do not fight fires without protective clothing

·        Make certain that local emergency rooms are notified that victims will be coming

·        Call a POISON CENTER for more information.

RADIATION: (IONIZING RADIATION) Class 7

DEFINITION:

Any substance capable of affecting living tissue by the emission of ionizing radiation in the form of subatomic particles or energy waves (rays).

·        Alpha (particles)

·        Beta (particles)

·        Gamma (rays)

·        Xray (rays)

PRINCIPLE HAZARDS:

·        Radiation sickness

·        Cancer

·        Death

DETECTION:

Label

Detection devices (Geiger Counter)

CONSIDERATIONS: EVACUATION

Additionally, when dealing with ionizing radiation, the three factors to consider are:

·        TIME

·        DISTANCE

·        SHIELDING

NOTE: When dealing with radioactive materials, consult the agency with jurisdiction in your area that has the training and equipment to correctly respond to these incidents.

CORROSIVES: Class 8

DEFINITION:

Any liquid or solid that can destroy human skin or tissue, or any liquid that has a severe corrosion rate on metals. (Acids and Bases)

PRINCIPLE HAZARDS:

·        Destroys living tissue

·        Violent ruptures can occur

·        Can splatter in contact with water

·        Vapors may be toxic and irritating

·        May produce violent chemical reaction

DETECTION:

·        Containers

·        Labels

·        May be fuming

CONSIDERATIONS:

The following are the main methods for containing corrosive liquids:

·        Dams

·        Dikes

·        Isolation

·        Absorption

·        Neutralization

WARNING! If corrosives come in contact with the body, immediately apply/wash with large amounts of water.

MISCELLANEOUS HAZARDOUS MATERIALS: Class 9

Materials which present a potential hazard during transportation but which do not meet the definition of any other hazards class. This class includes:

Any material which has an anesthetic, noxious, or other similar property which causes extreme annoyance or discomfort to a flight crew member so as to prevent the correct performance of assigned duties; or

Materials that meet the definition for an elevated temperature material, hazardous substance, a hazardous waste, or marine pollutant.

ORM’s (OTHER REGULATED MATERIALS)

ORM D- Materials which are consumer commodities that present a limited hazard during transportation.

Prehospital Management

Potential for Secondary Contamination. The route and extent of exposure are important in determining the potential for secondary contamination. Victims who were exposed only to gas or vapor and have no gross deposition of the material on their clothing or skin are not likely to carry significant amounts of chemical beyond the Hot Zone and are not likely to pose risks of secondary contamination to response personnel. However, victims whose skin or clothing is soaked with liquid chemical or victims who have condensation of chemical vapor on their clothes or skin may contaminate others by direct contact or by off-gassing vapor. If the victim has ingested a chemical, toxic vomitus may also pose a danger to others through direct contact or off-gassing vapor.

Hot Zone

·        Rescuers should be trained and appropriately attired before entering the Hot Zone. If the proper equipment is not available, or if rescuers have not been trained in its use, call for assistance from a local or regional HAZMAT team or other properly equipped response organization.

Rescuer Protection

·        When a chemical is unidentified, worst-case possibilities concerning toxicity must be assumed. The potential for severe local effects (e.g., irritation and burning) and severe systemic effects (e.g., organ damage) should be assumed when specific rescuer-protection equipment is selected.

·        Respiratory Protection: Pressure-demand, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) should be used in all response situations.

·        Skin Protection: Chemical-protective clothing should be worn when local and systemic effects are unknown.

ABC Reminders

Quickly ensure a patent airway. If trauma is suspected, maintain cervical immobilization manually and apply a cervical collar and a backboard when feasible.

Victim Removal

If victims can walk, lead them out of the Hot Zone to the Decontamination Zone. Victims who are unable to walk may be removed on backboards or gurneys; if these are not available, carefully carry or drag victims to safety.

Rescuer Protection

If the chemical or concentration is unidentified, personnel in the Decontamination Zone should wear the same protective equipment used in the Hot Zone (see Rescuer Protection, above).

ABC Reminders

Quickly ensure a patent airway. Stabilize the cervical spine with a collar and a backboard if trauma is suspected. Administer supplemental oxygen as required. Assist ventilation with a bag- valve-mask device if necessary.

Basic Decontamination

Victims who are able and cooperative may assist with their own decontamination. Remove and double-bag contaminated clothing and personal belongings.

Flush exposed or irritated skin and hair with plain water for 3 to 5 minutes. For oily or otherwise adherent chemicals, use mild soap on the skin and hair.

Flush exposed or irritated eyes with plain water or saline for at least 5 minutes. Remove contact lenses if present and easily removable without additional trauma to the eye. If a corrosive material is suspected or if pain or injury is evident, continue irrigation while transferring the victim to the

Support Zone.

In cases of ingestion, do not induce emesis. Victims who are conscious and able to swallow should be given 4 to 8 ounces of water. Obtain medical care immediately.

Transfer to Support Zone

As soon as basic decontamination is complete, move the victim to the Support Zone.

Support Zone

Be certain that victims have been decontaminated properly (see Decontamination Zone above). Victims who have undergone decontamination or who have been exposed only to gas or vapor and who have no evidence of skin or eye irritation generally pose no serious risks of secondary contamination. In such cases, Support Zone personnel require no specialized protective gear.

ABC Reminders

Quickly ensure a patent airway. If trauma is suspected, maintain cervical immobilization manually and apply a cervical collar and a backboard when feasible. Ensure adequate respiration; administer supplemental oxygen as required. Ensure a palpable pulse. Establish intravenous access if necessary. Attach a cardiac monitor.

Added Decontamination

Continue irrigating exposed skin and eyes, as appropriate.

In cases of ingestion, do not induce emesis. If the patient is conscious and able to swallow, administer 4 to 8 ounces of water if it has not been given previously. Obtain medical care immediately.

Advanced Treatment

Intubate the trachea in cases of respiratory compromise. When the patient’s condition precludes endotracheal intubation, perform cricothyroidotomy if equipped and trained to do so.

Treat patients who have bronchospasm with aerosolized bronchodilators. Use these and all catecholamines with caution because of the enhanced risk of cardiac dysrhythmias after exposure to certain chemicals.

Patients who are comatose, hypotensive, or have seizures or cardiac dysrhythmias should be treated according to ALS protocols.

Transport to Medical Facility

Report to the base station and the receiving medical facility the condition of the patient, treatment given, and estimated time of arrival at the medical facility.

If a chemical has been ingested, prepare the ambulance in case the victim vomits toxic material. Have ready several towels and open plastic bags to quickly clean up and isolate vomitus.

Multi-Casualty Wage

All exposed patients should be transported to a medical facility for evaluation.

Asymptomatic patients who have not had direct chemical exposure can he discharged from the scene after their names, addresses, and telephones numbers are recorded. Those discharged should be advised to seek medical care promptly if symptoms develop.

Consult with the base station physician or regional poison control center for advice regarding triage of multiple victims.

Emergency Department or Hospital Management considerations

Potential for Secondary Contamination. Victims who were exposed only to gas or vapor and have no gross deposition of the material on their clothing or skin are not likely to carry significant amounts of chemical beyond the Hot Zone and are not likely to pose risks of secondary contamination to hospital personnel. However, victims whose skin or clothing are covered with liquid or solid chemical or victims who have condensation of chemical vapor on their clothes or skin may contaminate hospital personnel and the ED by direct contact or by off-gassing vapor. If the victim has ingested a chemical, toxic vomitus may also pose a danger through direct contact or off-gassing vapor.

Decontamination Area

Previously decontaminated patients and patients exposed only to gas or vapor who have no evidence of skin or eye irritation may be transferred immediately to the Critical Care Area. Other victims will require decontamination as described below

ABC Reminders

Evaluate and support airway, breathing, and circulation. Intubate the trachea in cases of respiratory compromise. If the patient’s condition precludes intubation, surgically create an airway.

Treat patients who have bronchospasm with aerosolized bronchodilators; use these and all catecholamines with caution because of the possible enhanced risk of cardiac dysrhythmias.

Patients who are comatose, hypotensive, or have seizures or ventricular dysrhythmias should be treated in the conventional manner.

Basic Decontamination

Patients who are able and cooperative may assist with their own decontamination. Remove and double-bag contaminated clothing and personal belongings.

Flush exposed or irritated skin and hair with plain water for 3 to 5 minutes. For oily or otherwise adherent chemicals, use mild soap on the skin and hair. Rinse thoroughly with water.

Flush exposed or irritated eyes with plain water or saline for at least 5 minutes. Remove contact lenses if present and easily removable without additional trauma to the eye. If a corrosive material is suspected or if pain or injury is evident, continue irrigation while transferring the patient to the Critical Care Area.

In cases of ingestion, do not induce emesis. Administer 4 to 8 ounces of water to dilute stomach contents if the patient is conscious and able to swallow. Immediately transfer the patient to the Critical Care Area.

Critical Care Area

Be certain that appropriate decontamination has been carried out. (See Decontamination Area, above.)

ABC Reminders

Evaluate and support airway, breathing, and circulation as in ABC Reminders. Establish intravenous access in seriously ill patients. Continuously monitor cardiac rhythm.

Patients who are comatose, hypotensive, or have seizures or ventricular dysrhythmias should be treated in the conventional manner.

Inhalation Exposure

Administer supplemental oxygen by mask to patients who have respiratory complaints. Treat patients who have bronchospasm with aerosolized bronchodilators; use these and all catecholamines with caution because of the potential or possible enhanced risk of cardiac dysrhythmias.

Skin Exposure

If concentrated chlorine gas or chlorine-generating solutions contact the skin, chemical burns may occur; treat as thermal burns. If the liquefied compressed gas is released and contacts the skin, frostbite may result. If a victim has frostbite, treat by rewarming affected areas in a water bath at a temperature of 102 to 108°F (40 to 42°C) for 20 to 30 minutes and continue until a flush has returned to the affected area.

Because of their larger surface area:body weight ratio children are more vulnerable to toxicants absorbed through the skin.

Skin Exposure

If chemical burns are present, treat as thermal burns.

Eye Exposure

Ensure that adequate eye irrigation has been completed. Test visual acuity. Examine the eyes for corneal damage using a magnifying device or a slit lamp and fluorescein stain. For small corneal defects, use ophthalmic ointment or drops, analgesic medication, and an eye patch. Immediately consult an ophthalmologist for patients who have severe corneal injuries.

Ingestion Exposure

Do not induce emesis. If the patient is alert and charcoal has not been given previously, administer a slurry of activated charcoal. If a corrosive material is suspected, administer 4 to 8 ounces of water do not give a slurry of activated charcoal. Consider endoscopy to evaluate the extent of gastrointestinal-tract injury. If a large dose has been ingested and the patient’s condition is evaluated within 30 minutes after ingestion, consider gastric lavage.

Antidotes and Other Treatments

Treatment consists of supportive measures.

Laboratory Tests

Routine laboratory studies for all exposed patients include CBC, glucose, and electrolyte determinations. Additional studies for patients exposed to an unidentified chemical include ECG monitoring, renal-function tests, and liver-function tests. Chest radiography and pulse oximetry (or ABG measurements) are recommended for severe inhalation exposure.

Disposition and Follow-up

Consider hospitalizing patients who have suspected serious exposures and persistent or progressive symptoms

Delayed Effects

When the chemical has not been identified, the patient should be observed for an extended period or admitted to the hospital.

Patient Release

Asymptomatic patients who have minimal exposure, normal initial examinations, and no signs of toxicity after 6 to 8 hours of observation may be discharged with instructions to seek medical care promptly if symptoms develop.

Follow-up

Provide the patient with follow-up instructions to return to the emergency department or a private physician to reevaluate initial findings. Patients who have corneal injuries should be reexamined within 24 hours.

Reporting

If a work-related incident has occurred, you may be legally required to file a report; contact your state or local health department. Other persons may still be at risk in the setting where this incident occurred. If the incident occurred in the workplace, discussing it with company personnel may prevent future incidents. If a public health risk exists, notify your state or local health department or other responsible public agency. When appropriate, inform patients that they may request an evaluation of their workplace from OH&S or NIOSH.

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