Environmental Engineering Reference
distribution system is common to many industrial facilities. Arrangements should
be made to access water tank trucks to supply additional water if the need arises.
Specialized firefighting equipment is often necessary at industrial sites
because of the unusual chemical process. For example, dry chemical units
carrying large quantities of dry extinguishing material such as potassium
bicarbonate (purple K) may be necessary where water cannot be used as
extinguishing agent. 10 Fire-extinguishing foam is probably the most frequently
used nonaqueous medium.
New innovations are assisting firefighters in responding to chemical fires and
complex situations. Thermal imaging equipment is now available that allows
firefighters to “see” in areas with dense smoke. GPS equipment allows firefight-
ers to locate one another in complex situations where multiple activities are
Spill and Vapor Release Control Equipment
Few methods are available to control a vapor release after it has occurred. Fixed
abatement systems (e.g., water curtains) spraying an absorbent such as water into
the dispersed cloud of a soluble vapor such as ammonia and hydrogen chloride or
fluoride are occasionally used. 11 , 12 Sometimes, dispersion of gases in air below
their flammability point can be achieved using water streams.
Special tools may be required to perform some response operations to control
the leak or vapor release, such as plugging a leak or shutting off jammed isolation
valves. Equipment for stopping and containing a liquid spill is also necessary.
Emergency containment systems for liquid spills, such as booms and portable
dikes, can be built to limit the leaching of spilled material into the ground and
to nearby sensitive areas. Quick-setting foams can be applied to create an imper-
meable barrier to limit leaching of spills into the ground. These foams can also
be used to temporarily plug a leak. 13 Also, emergency spill containment barriers
designed for rapid deployment are available. These units are manufactured from
chemical-resistant flexible membranes and have self-supporting perimeter cham-
bers. Vacuum trucks are another useful type of spill response equipment. These
trucks can quickly collect surface liquids for transport to appropriate disposal
Many facilities have spill containment trailers equipped with a variety of
spill control equipment and supplies. Usually these trailers are outfitted with
sorbent products, acid neutralizers, spill containment berm, pumps and tanks, and
various types of PPE. Universal sorbents are available that can control pesticides,
acids, hydrocarbons, and chlorinated compounds. Also available are products that
rapidly neutralize and solidify low pH fluids such as hydrochloric acid, nitric acid,
and sulfuric acid.
Medical Facilities, Equipment, and Supplies
Most industrial facilities have a medical center. This facility should be equipped
to deal with the most likely medical emergencies at the particular site and