Chattanooga Fire Dept sending cyanide antidote kits to Blount Cty
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
The hazardous materials that were on the train that crashed in Blount County are common on railroads tracks right here in our area.
The Chattanooga Fire Department says when a hazmat crew is called out to the scene of a train derailment they immediately start looking for special colored signs, that lets them know if they're dealing with a hazardous material, and if so, what precautions they need to take.
"All the hazardous materials are divided into nine basic categories, and each category has a different colored placard," said Chief Danny Hague, Tactical Services with Chattanooga Fire Department.
About 4,000 different chemicals are transported on Chattanooga railways, many of them hazardous.
First responders don't always know what they're dealing with during an emergency.
"We can inhale it, we can ingest it, it can be absorbed through the skin," Chief Hague said, "In the case of radiation we may be exposed to the radioactive materials, just the energy off of it."
To stay prepared, all Hamilton County fire trucks have an Emergency Response Book on board, a guide to all hazardous materials in case of a spill.
"This tells us what the hazards are, the product, what we can do for evacuations, things of that nature," Chief Hague said.
The train accident in Blount County was carrying acrylonitrile. According to the Emergency Response handbook, it's a flammable and poisonous liquid.
"And this is what the response personnel would have seen in their book."
Emergency management in Maryville asked other local agencies to send any extra "cyano kits," an antidote kit to cyanide poisoning, to help aid first responders.
Chattanooga Fire Department sent four of the area's 30 kits to help.
"From what I understand the chemical that has been released, one of the by products of combustion, being on fire, is it released cyanide," Chief Hague said.
If a person is exposed, they could be at risk for cyanide poisoning.
According to the EPA's website, it can cause, headaches, dizziness, and nausea and can be treated with what's a cyano kit.
Once first responders know what chemical the train is carrying, they use the handbook to determine if an evacuation is needed and the proper way to clean it up.
Railroad companies are common carriers, meaning they're required to carry any product they're hired for.
Each year railroad companies give the Chattanooga Fire Department a list of the 25 most common hazardous materials being transported in our area. That way first responders can become more familiar with the products shipped most often in our area.