The Steps to Be Taken
Since the contents of the drum that has been punctured are undetectable, it is necessary to assume that they are potentially dangerous (e.g., acid). Thereafter, it is necessary to move the leaking drum and sample its contents. As for the rest of the drums, which have been knocked over, it will be required to put them back in order. Seeing how the contents of the punctured drum can be hazardous, it will be reasonable to use protective gloves. The liquid that has leaked onto the floor from a hole in the drum must be removed carefully. Finally, the emergency services must be notified.
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Information, the Means to Gather It, and the Ways to Distribute It
As has been mentioned above, samples of the liquid from the punctured drum must be analyzed in order to detect the potential danger of the situation. There are several issues to be identified in the given case. As it has been specified, the punctured drum has to be placed as far away from the flammable drums as possible. As it has been stressed, the contents of the leaking drum are unknown. Therefore, it will be required to take samples of the liquid that is leaking from the container and choose an appropriate strategy based on the results of the observation. The next step is to identify the time when the spill occurred (day/night), the scale of the spill (one leakage means a small spill).
Evaluating the Danger: The Hazardous Situation to Face
When evaluating the hazard of the situation, one will also have to consider outside factors, such as the materials in the vicinity. Supposing that the drum is filled with an oxidizer; in that case, flammable and explosive materials must be taken as far away from the drum as possible. If the drum contains acid, the leak must be removed immediately. If the drum contains a strong base, it will be most reasonable to remove it away from the drums with strong acids.
The Restraints to Exercise: Avoiding Accidents
Since the liquid emitted from the drum is unidentifiable without the corresponding equipment and analysis of its chemical compounds, special precaution measures must be undertaken so that none of the people should get hurt.
Based on the results of the evaluation described above and the scale of the accident, it is reasonable to assume that the people witnessing the accident should be moved to the Protective Action Zone, a square, the area of which depends on the size of the spill.
Advice to Give the People in the Vicinity
To start with, it is crucial that no one should approach the area where the spill occurred. Therefore, it will be required to warn people not to tread on the scene of the spill. Moreover, it will be highly recommended that the people around should start wearing masks that will protect their lungs from the possible damage in case of an acid spill. The people must move in a crosswind direction so that they should not be harmed by the fumes emitted from the drum (Meyer, 2010).
Evacuation as a Possible Step to Consider
If the fumes start posing a serious threat to the people’s health or it will be no longer possible to keep the liquid emitted from the drum far away from the flammable substances, evacuation should be considered as a necessary step.
It will be important to keep people as calm as possible and make sure that no one should panic; otherwise, it will be very easy to lose the track of the situation and have someone injured in the process. The people must be evacuated from the building.
Meyer, E. (2010). Chemistry of hazardous materials (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.