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