Safe reaction

IT'S not unusual to arrive at a tanker accident and find that initial responders have covered the vehicle in foam, said Scott Turner of HMHTTC Response Inc.

“Try to keep them from putting it all over everything,” he advised at the National Tank Truck Carriers Safety Seminar April 4-6 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

With the tank covered in the foam, the surface becomes slippery, making it difficult for personnel to drill the tank or to conduct other procedures. When foam is necessary, it should only be applied to appropriate areas.

“Use the correct foam for the product involved,” he added.

When carriers are selecting an emergency response contractor, they should choose a company that has specific equipment to handle the carriers' products and vehicles. The suggestion was among several Turner offered to enhance response efforts.

He emphasized the importance of response crews wearing appropriate personal protective equipment to keep them safe, including carrying telephones and radios that won't spark a fire. “Safety for personnel and the public is the highest priority,” he said.

Never assume that a certain product is in the tank. “Check the placard,” he said.

A top priority is to ground the tank trailer before beginning other actions, especially in the event of a rollover. “Ground all trailers, even if they contain water,” he said. “And, don't drill the tank until all the hoses and equipment are present.”

Turner prefers to use two grounding cables as an “insurance policy,” he added.

In rollovers, leaks typically appear at the domelid, he said. If the tank trailer is to be righted, Turner recommends using straps rather than cables.

When product is transferred from the damaged tank to another, personnel should insure that pumps and hoses are clean so the product being removed will not be contaminated.

“Don't release the vehicle to a wrecker without knowing it is in proper condition,” he added.

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