Hazmat, Industrial Firefighting, Technical Rescue

Lessons Learned from an Ammonia Leak at a SARA Facility

Issue 11 and Volume 172.

By JOHN R. WATERS II Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, borders Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware counties in the southeastern part of the state and is 487 square miles with a population of 826,000. It is also home to one of the largest shopping malls in America as well as Valley Forge National Park. Although there are several tourist attractions in the county, it also contains more than 500 SARA Title III reporting facilities. These facilities are required to report their chemical inventories annually because of the specific hazardous materials and quantities kept on site. In late 2017, a hazardous materials incident at one of these facilities stretched local resources to the extent of their capabilities. Montgomery County is comprised of 62 municipalities and is protected by 92 fire companies, 20 emergency medical services (EMS) companies, 50 police departments, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Montgomery County Hazardous Materials Response Team (MCHMRT).…

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