Home Hot Wash THMG160 – Hot Wash: Propane, Part II

THMG160 – Hot Wash: Propane, Part II


In this hot wash episode, Bob and Mike conclude their discussion of a listener-submitted propane incident.

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Complete Show Notes

9:35 Predicting Behavior when Handling Multiple Materials

  • Didn’t feel there was any danger of the tanks failing, as they all seemed to be in good shape
  • We know propane wouldn’t act like natural gas by going up into the air and dissipating
  • Instead (since it’s much heavier than air), we know it will hug the ground

11:50 Estimating the Size of an Endangered Area

  • We can do this using computer modeling, monitoring equipment, or by talking to other specialists in the field
  • Our major concern was the tank leaking at the treads – worried the product would come out of the container, collect on the ground, and flow to a source of ignition
  • This is a big problem because we’re in a residential neighborhood with houses that are only separated by 10 feet at the most
  • The manholes in the street that lead to most major utilities was another ignition concern
  • A third source of ignition was the smoldering garage that was only 10 feet away from the cylinder staging area – we know anything that’s hot can be an ignition source and would have had no way of determining which way vapors would travel

17:10 Planning a Response

  • We have to take into account the capabilities of available personnel, PPE, and control equipment
  • Start by describing the response objectives for hazardous materials and WMD incidents
  • We want to go home safe, so we use our meters and inspect the cylinders before we move them
  • We also want to protect life and property, so we check out areas where the product can be located – do this by using our knowledge of chemical properties

25:25 Potential Response Options

  • We needed to mitigate the hazard – our only option was to burn
  • We used bunker gear and SCBA
  • We didn’t use a technical decontamination process to minimize the hazard

32:05 Developing an Incident Action Plan

  • We developed an incident action plan for the incident, which included a site safety and control plan
  • This plan had to be consistent with the emergency response plan or standard operating procedures within the capability of available personnel, PPE, and control equipment
  • We needed to perform the duties of an assigned hazardous materials branch/group position within the local incident management system (IMS)
  • Important to wear the proper PPE – both liquid splash and vapor-protective clothing with the proper respiratory protection

40:15 Executing the Incident Action Plan

  • Charged hose line
  • There was a person positioned at the shut-off valves
  • Another person stood by with flares in case the barrel went out
  • We didn’t have to perform any decontamination functions

45:00 Evaluation and Terminating the Incident

  • We evaluated the progress of the planned response by doing the following:
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of the control functions
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of the decontamination process
  • We terminated the incident by completing the following tasks:
    • Assisting in the incident debriefing
    • Assisting in the incident critique
    • Providing reports and documentation of the incident

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