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Hazmat Response – General Procedures


General procedures for responding to incidents involving hazardous materials/weapons of mass destruction.

  1. REMAIN UPWIND, UPHILL OR UPSTREAM OF THE INCIDENT. FROM A SAFE DISTANCE, ASSESS THE SITUATION. Use binoculars, if available, to view the scene. Attempt to determine if hazardous materials (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive – CBRNE) are present. Be alert for secondary devices meant to harm. Observe and note the following:
    1. Effects on people, animals, and the environment;
    2. Container types, markings, placards and labels. Use the North American Emergency Response Guidebook for reference, if available;
    3. Signs of any released or discharged materials or any unusual or pungent odors. Move farther away or upwind if you are not positive that it is safe;
    4. Wind direction and prevailing weather;
    5. Distance and direction of nearby dwellings or other occupied buildings; and
    6. Distance and direction of any nearby surface water.
  2. Notify the local authorities (city or county) by dialing 911 where available. Notify StateComm at 1-800-632-8000 or (208) 846-7610 for assistance.
  3. Do NOT enter an area where you may become a victim, even to rescue another.
  4. Until help arrives, the initial responders should:
    1. Cordon off incident area and establish a safe zone. If hazardous materials are suspected, evacuate all persons from the immediate area and remain upwind of the incident area. Call 1-800-632-8000 or (208) 846-7610 for advice.
    2. Enter the incident area only when properly trained and equipped with appropriate protective clothing and equipment;
    3. Render first aid to victims if substance is known and it is safe for responders or after decontamination is completed; be sure to notify medical personnel if any exposure to a hazardous material is suspected;
    4. Establish Incident Command and serve as an on-scene communication point;
    5. Brief arriving response team leaders, incident commanders and additional responders.

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