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Handling Chemical Fire Through ICE

What to Do in the Case of Chemical Fires?

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

... like sparying a protective foam.
... like sparying a protective foam. (Picture: PROCESS)

What should one do in case of a chemical fire? Big companies have internal fire departments and are often well prepared for chemical accidents, with specialized equipment and trained professionals. But what can smaller firms or local firefighters do? Learn how the International Chemical Environment (ICE) offers professional support, from consulting to the dispatch of specialized task forces in case of a fire in hazardous environments...

Seagulls circulate over the container terminal at Dow’s production site in Terneuzen, the Netherlands. The rolling waves form a sonorous backbeat for the harbor noises and the smell of diesel mixes with the salty spray. But not all is quiet on the western waterfront. A seemingly harmless dripping disturbs the scenery. From a valve at a container leeks a colorless liquid, fine vapor trails fill the air. Suddenly wailing sirens are heard, as firefighters arrive on the scene.

Working together: Private fire brigades from the chemical industry are often highly trained professionals, well equipped for accidents with hazardous substances. Here, Dutch firefighters cooperate with professionals from Dow’s company fire department.
Working together: Private fire brigades from the chemical industry are often highly trained professionals, well equipped for accidents with hazardous substances. Here, Dutch firefighters cooperate with professionals from Dow’s company fire department. (Picture: PROCESS)

Leaking containers, burning chemicals or a spill of substances that are explosive, corrosive or harmful to the environment— accidents with hazardous cargo and chemical fires are a much feared scenario for ports and harbors. With cheap freight rates and a safe and secure transport, cargo ships account for the bulk of international freight transports. In 2008, for example, it is estimated that the industry transported over 7.7 thousand million tonnes of cargo, equivalent to a total volume of world trade by sea of over 32 thousand billion tonne-miles, the nautical transport agency Shipping Facts states. What can small companies do in case of chemical accidents?

Big Chemical Companies Well Equipped – Amller Firms Lack Expertise

Big chemical companies often have detailed emergency plans as well as trained professionals on site with specialized equipment. But what can smaller firms, freight haulers or public fire brigades that usually have to deal with house fires of traffic accidents, do in case hazardous goods are involved in an incident?

To help local emergency response authorities to undertake the right countermeasures, the European Chemical Industry Council–CEFIC launched the International Chemical Environment (ICE) program. Now, local firefighters, paramedics or police forces can ask specialists from the industry for help. And what seems like a dangerous chemical accident at Terneuzen is actually a fire drill of local fire brigades

together with specialists from Dow... more on page 2!

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