Hazmat

ARE ALL CHEMICAL SPILLS OR RELEASES “EMERGENCIES”?

Issue 5 and Volume 153.

Click here to enlarge image Often, the first responders on-scene deter-mine whether a chemical spill or release is an emergency. But how many of you even consider this? If you are called to the scene, is it a foregone conclusion that your involvement is mandatory? Determining whether an emergency exists can be a difficult decision, but it is one that must be made. Let’s look at the following scenarios. Which are emergencies and require your hazardous materials response team’s service? Responses to these scenarios are provided near the conclusion of this article. Scenario #1 One quart (one liter) of methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) has spilled from a glass laboratory container onto an open loading dock at the local university on a warm day. Is this an emergency? Scenario #2 The same spill has just occurred in a small janitor’s closet at the same university during school hours on a weekday.…

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