Chlorine leaks can be deadly, so a proper response is critical.
Jennie Inkster, safety coordinator for the City of Kamloops, completed a set of written emergency procedures for dealing with chlorine leaks. Then she tested them with the local fire department during NAOSH Week 2011.
“Our fire department always likes to practise because once chlorine gets out – leaks don’t get better, they get worse,” Jennie told me on the phone from Kamloops.
“The fire department comes at it from a different angle than I do. I’m worried about the worker’s safety – and they’re worried about their members and how they’re going to approach the scene. They have to evacuate if they’ve got a cloud of chlorine floating.”
Jennie and her team developed a booklet of information for responding to this type of emergency, including all maps and phone numbers of people who may need to be evacuated. Now each each fire station and haz mat truck has a copy.
“That was a suggestion from the fire department – so they could look at terrain, who they’re going to need to evacuate first, and an overall map of where the actual chlorine is located and the closest houses to that,” Jennie said.
Planning your route to the emergency
Jennie said they discovered another route that the fire department could take, if needed.
“There’s one way in that the City uses, but there’s another way we can come at it depending on which way the wind is. You might not necessarily be able to get at it from our main entrance that we use right now and it’s basically through a farmer’s field,” Jennie said. “But they have to be careful. It depends on the type of year because their trucks are so heavy they could get stuck. Some of that stuff came up and was discussed and it was really great.”
This exercise, along with other activities at work and in the community, earned Kamloops three NAOSH Awards: Best New Entry at the national level and in BC’s Local Government category and Best Presentation of Theme. Congratulations to all!
See Chlorine Safe Work Practices by WorkSafeBC