Chemical Accidents

Working Together: How ICE Helps to Handle Chemical Accidents

06/29/2012 | Editor: Dominik Stephan

Working together gets the job done: under the ICE programme, public fire brigades and private specialists cooperate on accidents with hazardous goods.
Gallery: 11 Pictures
Working together gets the job done: under the ICE programme, public fire brigades and private specialists cooperate on accidents with hazardous goods. (Picture: PROCESS)

What to do in case of fire? Big company fire departments are often well prepared for chemical accidents, with specialised equipment and trained professionals. But what can smaller fiorms or local firefighters do? Learn, how the International Chemical Environment (ICE) offers professional support, from telephonic consulting to the dispatch of specialised task forces...

Seagulls circulate over the container terminal at Dow's production site in Terneuzen, The Netherlands. The rolling waves form a sonorous backbeat for the harbour noises and the smell of diesel mixes with the salty spray. But not all is quiet on the western waterfront: A seemingly harmless dripping disturbs the scenery. From a valve at a container leeks a colourless liquid, fine vapour trails fill the air. Suddenly wailing sirens are heard, as firefighters arrive on the scene.

Leaking containers, burning chemicals or a spill of substances that are explosive, corrosive or harmful to the environment – accidents with hazardous cargo are a much feared scenario for ports and harbours: With cheap freight rates and a safe and secure transport, cargo ships account for the bulk of international freight transports: In 2008, for example, it is estimated that the industry transported over 7.7 thousand million tonnes of cargo, equivalent to a total volume of world trade by sea of over 32 thousand billion tonne-miles, the nautical transport agency Shipping Facts states.

What Can Small Companies Do in Case of Chemical Accidents?

Big chemical companies often have detailed emergency plans as well as trained professionals on site with specialised equipment. But what can smaller firms, freight haulers or public fire brigades that usually have to deal with house fires of traffic accidents, do in case hazardous goods tare involved in an incident?

See also our detailed gallery of the fire drill at Terneuzen

To help local emergency response authorities to undertake the right countermeasures, the European Chemical Industry Council CEFIC launched the International Chemical Environment (ICE) programme. Now local firefighters, paramedics or police forces can ask specialists from the industry for help. And what seems like a dangerous chemical accident at Terneuzen is actually a fire drill of local fire brigades together with specialists from Dow.

Additional Information
Addresses: Where to Get Help for Chemical Accidents

Read on, how private fire brigades and specialist from the chemical industry can help you with accidents involving hazardous cargo or chemical goods on page 2!

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