Evacuation distances questioned by NTSB

Issue 7 and Volume 138.

Evacuation distances questioned by NTSB Dispatches A warning issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) states that a false sense of security with determining evacuation distances could be created if relying solely on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) EMERGENCY RESPONSE GUIDEBOOK FOR HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. Because explosions can cause parts of hazardous material containers to travel greater distances than the DOT’s recommended evacuation zones, increased evacuation limits may be necessary, according to a report in the WASHINGTON SCENE. The warning was issued after the NTSB reviewed a September 1983 train derailment near Murdock, IL. A tank car containing flammable compressed gas exploded, rocketing pieces of car 3,630 feet, according to the report. For the substance involved, the guidebook recommends an evacuation distance of 2,640 feet. The introduction to the DOT guidebook, however, states that, “These recommended distances to isolate or evacuate people from spill areas are only for the initial…

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