Health & Safety

IAFF issues statement urging fire fighters, paramedics to hold Ebola stand-downs

Excerpted from ohsonline.com

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is warning it is "highly likely that more individuals infected with Ebola will seek assistance from emergency response personnel as the disease spreads," and urging fire and EMS personnel to hold a safety stand-down and review all infectious exposure policies, procedures and guidelines.

The AFL-CIO union that represents more than 300,000 full-time firefighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada, has posted a statement which lists 11 minimum elements IAFF says those policies, procedures and guidelines should address.

They include: not returning to the firehouse if there is a potential exposure or the crew thinks they have been affected; developing policies for monitoring and management of EMS personnel potentially exposed to Ebola; fit testing all personnel for N95 respirators and appropriate eye protection; and establishing sick leave policies that are "non-punitive, flexible and consistent with public health guidance."

The policies should ensure fire and EMS personnel exposed to blood, bodily fluid, secretions, or excretions from a patient with a suspected or confirmed Ebola virus immediately:
• Stop working and wash the affected skin surfaces with soap and water and irrigate with a large amount of water or eyewash solution.
• Contact an occupational health supervisor for assessment and access to post-exposure management services.
• Receive medical evaluation and follow-up care as appropriate. Medical evaluations should include fever monitoring twice daily throughout the Ebola incubation period, which is two to 21 days.

Click here for a complete list of guidelines.

Consolidation trend continues for Michigan fire departments

As revenue to communities continues to evaporate, employers are looking for ways to cut costs. Unfortunately, fire services are not exempt from these cuts and the growing response is consolidation.

Michigan was particularly hard hit by the recession as communities try to come to grips with the lengthily loss of revenue due to the cap on property taxes caused by Proposal A of 1994. Until 1994, property was valued at half of its market value, or State Equalized Value (SEV). Now the growth in taxable valuable is limited to the rate of inflation or 5 percent, whichever is less. Since taxable value declined when the real estate market collapsed in 2007 and inflation remains around 2 percent, some communities have lost up to 20 percent of property tax revenue. In those municipalities, it could take up to a decade to fully recover the same revenues.

 
Chlorine Institute Briefing Paper
Car/Truck Emergency Response Emergency Kit "C": Proven Equipment for Chlorine Tank

Introduction

Fittings (i.e. pressure relief device and valves) leaks on chlorine tank cars and tank trucks rarely occur. Should a leak occur, prompt corrective action is required by trained, competent personnel. The first steps a responder should take are identifying the source of the leak and determining the proper course of action. Most often a leak can be stopped by simply ensuring all valves are completely closed. However, if a leak cannot be stopped by simpler mitigation techniques, a properly trained responder will need special equipment to stop the leak until the contents can be unloaded safely. A proven and widely accepted package of equipment that meets this critical need and has been used for more than 40 years is the Chlorine Institute (CI) Emergency Kit "C" (or C-Kit), which is specifically designed for use with standard U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant chlorine tank cars and cargo tanks.

What is in an Emergency Kit "C"?

The C-Kit contains devices and tools to stop leaks in and around the pressure relief device and angle valves used to load chlorine into and unload it from the tank. These valves are located within a steel enclosure (housing) mounted on top of the chlorine tank car or tank truck. The C-Kit is the chlorine emergency kit for chlorine tank cars and tank trucks that is manufactured to design recommendations of The Chlorine Institute. Since being introduced in the late 1960s, more than 5,500 C-Kits have been supplied to emergency responders all over North America by Indian Springs Manufacturing Co. (www.indiansprings.com), Baldwinsville, N.Y.

Who Typically Uses the C-Kit and How Are These Personnel Trained?

Public- and private-sector emergency response organizations own C-Kits and are trained to use them. Public-sector responders typically include fire departments, while private-sector responders would include CHLOREP (Chlorine Emergency Plan) teams, from Chlorine Institute member companies, or hazardous materials emergency-response contractors (ER contractors). The Chlorine Institute periodically provides free training for both public- and private-sector responders on C-Kit use through both TRANSCAER® (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) sessions and individual member outreach. For example, in 2011 the Chlorine Institute in cooperation with the Union CI Briefing Paper C-Kit- Proven Equipment April9, 2012 Pacific Railroad trained over 400 emergency responders in Los Angeles and Chicago how to deal with a chlorine emergency, including how to apply a C-Kit.

If a particular emergency situation permits, it is recommended to activate the CHLOREP Network, because these responders are typically the most knowledgeable and experienced in chlorine tank car release mitigation. If the situation presents an imminent risk to public safety, it is crucial that public responders on the scene are trained on proper use of the C-Kit. For public responder organizations that feel they need C-Kit training (either first time or a refresher) and are not located near a location planned for a TRANSCAER® training event, contact The Chlorine Institute for help coordinating a C-Kit training session. Individual training sessions will typically be provided by Cl member companies. TRANSCAER® participating organizations conduct training nationwide on hazardous materials emergency response. For more information, refer to the TRANSCAER® website - http://www.transcaer.com/.

The Chlorine Institute also has a video, "How to Use the Chlorine Institute Emergency Kit "C" for Chlorine Tank Cars and Tank Trucks," and an instruction booklet, Chlorine Institute Emergency Kit "C" for Chlorine Tank Cars & Tank Trucks. These training materials are both available via the Cl Web site - www.chlorineinstitute.org - for free to all emergency responders. In addition to specific instruction on the C-Kit, Cl has a general first responders video, "Chlorine Emergencies: An Overview for First Responders," which is provided free to all upon request via email or the Cl website.

Can You Provide More Information about the CHLOREP Program?

The Chlorine Institute has divided the United States and Canada into regional sectors, each with a CHLOREP team from plants that produce, package and consume chlorine. These sectors are arranged primarily along state or provincial boundaries. When a CHLOREP team is dispatched to an incident, it will come from within the region and from the closest team resource (plant or contractor), or the team that can reach the incident fastest. The CHLOREP system is set up to provide technical assistance to first responders. That assistance may be provided by phone or a team sent to the site of the emergency, if the incident commander deems it to be necessary. If a CHLOREP team is dispatched to an incident, it arrives with the appropriate emergency kit to deal with the situation, as well as protective gear to enter a potentially hazardous area. You can learn more about the CHLOREP program by visiting www.chlorineinstitute.org. In the United States, CHLOREP teams are activated through CHEMTREC (Chemical Transportation Emergency Center), www.chemtrec.com, which is administered by the American Chemistry Council. In Canada, CHLOREP assistance can be coordinated through Canutec, www.tc.qc.ca/enq/canutec/menu.htm.

What Other Steps are being taken to Ensure Safe Bulk Transport of Chlorine?

The U.S. and Canadian governments, chlorine shippers and carriers, and other stakeholders are taking a number of steps to ensure that chlorine can continue to be transported safely and securely throughout North America. Some of these steps include:

 

  • New chlorine valve assemblies have been designed, tested via service trial and are now approved for use on chlorine tank cars. These new valves are designed with spring-loaded check valves that prevent the flow of liquid chlorine or vapor in the event a product valve is broken off or damaged during an accident. This new configuration is intended to reduce the likelihood of any chlorine loss during an accident. The new configuration also is designed to accommodate the use of a C-Kit in the very unlikely event that it might still be needed in an emergency situation.
  • Provided input in developing a DOT regulation, which took effect in March 2009, that requires new tank cars containing chlorine and other toxic inhalation hazard materials to have better puncture resistance from side impact by combining thicker inner shells and/or thicker outer jackets. In addition, each end of the tank car must be protected with a full head shield, which was not already mandated by existing regulations. To prevent a chlorine release in a rollover, enhanced protection of valves, top fittings and nozzles used to load or unload a car is also required.
  • Committed to significant research exploring the future rail tank car design, with the goal of significantly improving safety and security performance. This is a coordinated effort between both industry and government.

 

What is Chlorine Rail Transport's Safety Record?

Rail is one of the safest modes of chlorine transportation. In 2010, over 2.75 million tons of chlorine was shipped by rail in North America, typically in 90-ton tank cars. This tonnage amounts to more than 30,000 tank car shipments. Of the more than 1.5 million chlorine tank car shipments since 1965, there have been only 11 breaches of a tank car (incidents where chlorine escaped into the air because of damage from an accident) - 0.00073 percent of all shipments. Overall, accident rates for rail shipments of all hazardous materials, including chlorine, have declined by about 90% percent since 1980.

What is the Chlorine Institute's Position on Calls to Replace the C-Kit?

The Chlorine Institute believes suggestions that the C-Kit could be eliminated in favor of a device that is described as a secondary containment housing which would enclose the valves atop a chlorine tank car are ill-advised and premature. Before considering use of such a product, it is imperative that the potential user ensures that the equipment is compliant with federal DOT hazardous materials regulations and is approved for use on chlorine tank cars by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Based on information made available to Cl, the known product currently being advertised in the market has not been approved by the AAR and is not fully compliant with DOT regulations. It is also crucial for potential users to conduct a thorough review of the design and applicability before determining that this type of equipment is a safer and more acceptable leak prevention/mitigation measure for chlorine tank cars.

The C-Kit has been used successfully since the 1960s on those rare occasions when valves have been damaged due to an accident and resulted in a chlorine release or a potential release. More than 5,500 C-Kits are already in the hands of trained U.S. and Canadian emergency responders. This experience and success with the C-Kit represents that it is a proven technology for this important public safety purpose.

While significant progress has been made in developing an enhanced chlorine tank car and valve assembly, it will take many years before older cars can be retired and replaced with new ones. There are more than 6,000 cars in service with the traditional standard chlorine fittings configuration. Eliminating the C-Kit while these cars remain in service is not a reasonable consideration and would make chlorine emergency response less effective than it is today.

Why Not Just Stop Transporting Chlorine?

Chlorine chemistry is essential to everyday life. The products of chlorine chemistry make possible clean water and safe foods, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, energy efficient building materials, renewable energy, computers, electronics, automobiles, and much more. For more than 95 percent of these applications, there are no reasonable substitutes for chlorine. While much of the chlorine produced is consumed without having to transport it to a different site, there are many sites throughout North America that are incapable of producing chlorine on site, and accordingly it must be shipped and supplied by a producer site.

Just The Facts...About The C-Kit
And Why It Is Still The Right Option for Responders

In the last few months, there's been a renewed flurry of misleading and false statements about the Chlorine Institute Emergency Kit "C" (C-Kit) by TGO Technologies, a company currently marketing its own secondary containment product. At this time, there have been no recorded sales of that product.

Emergency responders across the nation, who face real risks every day, deserve to know they can continue to rely on the C-Kit and proven response procedures. Here are the facts:

Fact: The C-Kit is specifically designed for use with standard U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant chlorine tank cars and tank trucks when there is a leak associated with pressure relief devices or valves, the "fittings" atop the railcar or tank truck. Providing devices and tools for use within the housings where valves are located, C-Kits have been used safely and successfully for more than 40 years. The C-Kit was developed to provide tools to responders. The Chlorine Institute has no financial or proprietary interest in the kit.

Fact: Public and private sector emergency response personnel are trained to use C­ Kits, and The Chlorine Institute provides free training through the TRANSCAER® (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) program and outreach by its members. More than 5,500 C-Kits are already in the hands of trained U.S. and Canadian emergency responders. This experience and success with the C- Kit confirms it is a proven technology for this important public safety purpose.

Fact: The Chlorine Institute's C-Kit Instruction Booklet (currently, Edition 9, january 2009) offers step-by-step guidance to responders, advises them to take pressure readings of the tank before installing C-Kit devices and clearly states the pressure limitations of the kit. The manual is available to responders free of charge.

Fact: The C- Kit has been recognized and accepted by the responder community, including the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the nation's railroads. Fact: A new generation of rail tank cars is under development, and will soon be in use. These cars, and the 6000 cars with the current, standard fittings that will remain in service, will require C-Kits for effective response to certain emergencies.

Fact: TGO Technologies' secondary containment product has never been tested in rail service, has never been approved by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and is not compliant with DOT regulations. Therefore, this product is not yet available for use on railroad tank cars and the concept of replacing the C- Kit with this product is ill-advised and premature.

Fact: TGO Technologies' advertisements and other communications make false claims about the C- Kit, and mislead readers into thinking its products are endorsed by leading responder organizations. TGO Technologies' products are not designed for use by responders, and are not endorsed by responder organizations.

Fact: On August 17, 2012, the Chlorine Institute asked DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), "to review the false claims and misleading statements" in TGO Technologies' marketing campaign.

Fact: The Chlorine Institute will continue to monitor TGO Technologies' marketing efforts and take action as appropriate to ensure that responders are getting accurate information so that they can continue to make the right decisions in emergency situations.

For more information about C-Kits and the Chlorine Institute's long-standing cooperation with the nation's responders contactCI at, 703.894.4140 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The C-J(it Bulletin is available at: (Hot!ink to C-Kit Bulletin)

MAFF has been notified by The Chlorine Institute that previous information posted may not be accurate.  We encourage our members to read and research.  Any questions, contact The Chlorine Institute at 703-894-4140 

 

The Chlorine Institute

1300 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 525 Arlington, VA 22209 
Ph: 703-894-4140
www.chlorineinstitute.org

The Facts About "C"-Kits & Secondary Containment­

A Memo to Michigan Firefighters & First Responders

TO: Michigan Firefighters and First Responders

FR: Frank Reiner, President- The Chlorine Institute

RE: The "C"-Kit is The Only Proven Approach to Tank Car Incidents

Firefighters and other first responders deserve the best and most accurate information about the equipment they need to safely and effectively respond to chlorine emergencies involving tank cars and trucks. Working closely with firefighters, railroads and federal regulatory agencies, The Chlorine Institute (CI), has always provided straight information to help ensure the safety of responders and the communities they serve.

A company interested in marketing a secondary containment product, TGO Technologies, Inc., has made statements that question the effectiveness and benefits of the CI "C"- Kit. The following information will help eliminate unnecessary confusion, and Cl includes sources so that all responders can judge the "C"-Kit for themselves.

 

  1. The "C"-Kit is specifically designed for dealing with leaks in and around pressure relief devices and angle valves, the "fittings" atop standard U.S. Department of Transportation-compliant tank cars and trucks.
  2. "C"-Kits have been used safely and successfully for more than 40 years, with more than5,500 kits in the hands of U.S. and Canadian responders.
  3. The TGO containment product has not received approval for use from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) or the Federal Railroad Administration. Please note PHMSA Administrator Cynthia L. Quarterman's May 6, 2013 letter to Nevada State Senator Moises Denis, which is quoted below. (A pdf of the letter is attached.)
  4. Thank you for your letter dated April 22, 2013. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are aware of the ChlorTanker device, which is a secondary containment top fitting protection product proposed by TGO Technologies, Inc. for rail tank cars transporting chlorine gas.
  5. In response to prior inquiries challenging the safety of the device, both PHMSA and FRA reviewed the ChlorTanker device and concluded that its product design is not approved for use under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR: 49 CFR Parts 171-180) of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. We officially informed TGO Technologies of this conclusion last year and also referred TGO Technologies to the official design approval process referenced in our regulations, which requires approval, after review and testing, by the Association of American Railroads Tank Car Committee. To our knowledge, TGO Technologies has not initiated this process. In addition, despite our notification to the contrary, TGO Technologies continues to make public claims that its ChlorTanker design is fully compliant with the HMR, and we continue to receive complaints conveying concerns that TGO Technologies may be making misleading and false claims about the safety of the device.
  6.  TGO's claim that Cl is conducting a study comparing the C-Kit to secondary containment is false. Though Cl attempted an analysis, TGO's lack of cooperation made it impossible to proceed. No study is currently underway.
  7. Cl has no financial or proprietary interest in the "C"-kit and provides training free of charge through the CHLOREP (CHLORine Emergency Plan) and TRANSCAER® (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) programs.
  8. Training that covers the properties of chlorine, the use of respiratory and all other safety equipment, and the correct use of the C-Kit is absolutely essential for all responders and Cl is proud to have helped train thousands of responders over the years.
  9. CI's The Chlorine Institute Emergency "C" Kit Instruction Booklet for Chlorine Tank Car & Tank Trucks" also is available to responders free of charge. It carefully guides responders through every aspect of "C"-Kit use, including the need to pressure test cars. Note p. 12 of the booklet (Edition 9, january 2009):
  10. CAUTION: Prior to installing DEVICE 24, a pressure reading should be taken to ensure the tank is not liquid full. (This warning appears in the booklet in Boldface and Italics. DEVICE 24 is the Hood for Pressure Relief Device.)
  11.  In short, CI has been and will continue to be a strong and faithful partner to firefighters and responders throughout North America. We welcome your questions and comments. Please feel free to contact us directly through:

 

Ms. Robyn Kinsley

Director, Transportation & Incident Analysis

The Chlorine Institute

1300 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22209 703.894.4123 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Attachments: PHMSA Administrator Cynthia L. Quarterman's Letter to Sen. Denis of NV.

 

  1. PHMSA Administrator Cynthia L. Quarterman's Letter to Sen. Denis of NV.
  2. Administrator Quarterman's letter to Cl.
  3. Cl's Briefing Paper: "Emergency Kit 'C': Proven Equipment for Chlorine Tank Car/Tank Truck Emergency Response."
  4. CI's "just the Facts...About The C-Kit.
  5. PDF of the CI Kit "C" Instruction Booklet.