Home Podcasts THMG140 – Tips for Responding to Mixed Loads

THMG140 – Tips for Responding to Mixed Loads

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In this episode, we discuss a range of tips to help you respond safely to and operate efficiently at mixed load transportation incidents.

Thank to our sponsor, CBRNE Convergence World 2018. This show will be held in Orlando, Florida, USA. Click here for registration information and other fantastic information.

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Complete Show Notes

4:10 What is a Mixed Load?

  • Single vehicle, vessel, or container that holds multiple hazards
  • Associated with placards, but doesn’t necessarily have to be placarded
  • Doesn’t always have to be associated with industry – can happen to anyone who’s carrying two chemicals that don’t play nicely together
  • Chemicals are most likely to interact during some kind of crash

5:10 What is a Single Load?

  • You have more of a particular product, but less chance of a chemical reaction
  • Two single load vehicles have to collide to get any kind of dangerous reaction – this makes a mixed load

6:15 Can Anything Be a Mixed Load?

  • DOT regulations dictate what can and can’t be transported together, but the list of things that don’t play well together is short
  • In small quantities, you can transport almost anything together

7:00 Where Do We See Mixed Loads?

  • We find mixed loads in:
    • Box trucks
    • Tractor trailers
    • Conex boxes
    • Cargo containers
  • Approach any hazard as though it might be a mixed load
  • Keep in mind that people are using storage containers for a variety of purposes – some are transported and some aren’t

9:20 How Do We Recognize a Mixed Load?

  • If we don’t have enough material to meet a DOT threshold, we won’t see a placard
  • If the driver is around, ask to see his shipping papers to confirm it’s a mixed load – keep in mind that some truckers don’t know what they’re hauling
  • Use your meters, temperature guns, and thermal imaging cameras, too – these should always be your primary meters in any chemical reaction situation

15:40 General Mixed Load Tips from Bob & Mike

  • Perform a 360 recon of the vehicle in question with your basic 4- or 5-gas meter in hand
  • Bring your probe almost to the ground – some substances pancake out very low to the ground, and we don’t want to miss them
  • Have your TIC (thermal imaging camera) and temperature gun ready
  • Always bring your eyes on your 360 and look for anything that could possibly be out of the ordinary (bulging, leaking, deformed objects, etc.)
  • For example, if you have an area that’s dry, there may be something hot lurking in the background – especially if it’s rainy or humid out
  • Look for smoke (or the characteristics of the smoke) from chemical reactions, offgassing, vapors, etc. – keep in mind that the color of the smoke can help us figure out what’s going on inside the container
  • Remember that substances shift during transportation – cargo may be leaning against the door of the vehicle, which poses a risk
  • Know that mixed loads can be solids, liquids, or gasses – always be prepared
  • Never rush – are you prepared for what you expect to happen to actually happen?
  • Always be within visual range of your meters – don’t want them to impinge on your vision, but they should be close
  • Make sure you’re always aware of the possibility of fire and realize the fire might not happen right away – two-thirds of all chemicals in the world are flammable
  • If there’s a fuel tank under the trailer, keep in mind that you’re dealing with a refrigerated truck – this throws a whole new set of variables into the equation
  • Know that there’s limited ventilation in many vehicles (like UPS trucks), which can be volatile and damage your skin – monitor using both wet and dry methods
  • Pay attention to what the floor is made of – most are made of wood or plastic, which have their own dangers when it comes to interactions
  • If it’s on fire, letting it burn is a viable option – this shouldn’t be your default, though – always carefully assess the situation to decide on your best course of action

Have a question? Send an email to feedback@thehazmatguys.com or leave a message on our Haz Mat Guys comment hotline: 843-628-1484

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