Jan. 15, 2013
-- When a train carrying vinyl chloride, a dangerous chemical, derailed and spilled, resulting in over 200 homes being evacuated on Nov. 30, 2012, the hazmat team that responded found itself with inoperable and missing hazardous material equipment. The derailment, in which seven train cars crashed into Mantua Creek, in Paulsboro, N.J., caused one of the tankers carrying 23,000 gallons of vinyl chloride to a spill and fill the air. As the Gloucester County hazardous materials team responded, they say they discovered the vital gas monitoring equipment needed for an incident of this nature was either missing from the county’s hazmat trailer, the batteries left uncharged, or completely inoperable, exposing the team to high levels of vinyl chloride.
As a result, about a half-dozen hazmat-trained firefighters have resigned from the Gloucester County hazardous response team, citing concerns about the exposure to the toxic chemical and the lack of properly maintained and operating equipment. The one multi-gas detector on the hazmat trailer was in a “non-functioning”
state, and another incident area monitor was left uncharged and missing its computer interface, putting the members of the hazmat team at risk as they were unable to determine the levels of vinyl chloride in the air, according to an article in the South Jersey Times.
“This is an issue that could have been entirely preventable,”
said Apollo Safety President and CEO, John V. Carvalho III. “To have the equipment you need, and to find it in a state of inoperability, is a scenario that no hazardous materials tech wants to encounter in the field. Proper maintenance, calibration, and an inventory of what equipment is available to first responders can mean the difference between life and death. At Apollo Safety, we specialize in hazardous gas detection equipment and offer a 100% Compliance Program, which ensures that all monitors enlisted in the program are 100% compliant with federal, state, local and manufacturers’
requirements at all times. This eliminates the need for any department or hazmat team to worry about whether their equipment is properly operating; we take care of it for you.”
Apollo Safety is a hazardous gas sales, service, and maintenance center with factory-trained technicians on-staff. According to president and CEO John V. Carvalho III, the presence of properly working gas detection equipment is crucial for any hazmat team. Without these devices, the probability of injury or death dramatically increases. Maintenance and calibration of any gas detection monitor should be performed to the manufacturers’
specification in order to ensure it is working correctly.
For more information on keeping hazardous gas monitors maintained and properly working, call Apollo Safety at 800-813-5408.
About Apollo Safety
Apollo Safety is a hazardous gas detection sales, service, and maintenance center with three locations in New England. Offering on-site service throughout New England and by courier nationally and internationally, Apollo Safety specializes in the latest in portable and fixed point gas detection technology. With over 50 combined years experience in the gas detection industry, Apollo Safety is currently supporting a number of leading universities, laboratories, and pharmaceutical companies in New England, and numerous fire/hazmat and water/sewer departments throughout the country.