About Chemical Disasters

Sources of Chemical Disasters

Chemical accidents may originate in:

  • Manufacturing and formulation installations including during commissioning and process operations; maintenance and disposal.
  • Material handling and storage in manufacturing facilities, and isolated storages; warehouses and godowns including tank farms in ports and docks and fuel depots.
  • Transportation (road, rail, air, water, and pipelines).

Levels of Emergency

NDMA guidelines on chemical disasters have defined Levels of Emergencies which are useful in communicating the level of response needed to be provided.

  • Level – 0: A non-emergency period when mock drills, trainings, exercises and other preparedness activities for effective response should be done.
  • Level – 1: The emergency will spill over to off-site (outside the factory) and within the capabilities of the district administration to deal with.
  • Level – 2: The emergency will require assistance and help from the state government and within their capability.
  • Level – 3: A National level disaster requiring major direct intervention of the Central Government.

Precautions to be taken during and after the Chemical (Industrial) Accidents

  1. Do not panic, evacuate calmly and quickly perpendicular to wind direction through the designated escape route
  2. Keep a wet handkerchief or piece of cloth/ sari on face during evacuation
  3. Keep the sick, elderly, weak, handicapped and other people who are unable to evacuate inside house and close all the doors and windows tightly.
  4. Do not consume the uncovered food/ water etc open to the air, drink only from bottle
  5. Change into fresh clothing after reaching safe place/ shelter, and wish hands properly
  6. Inform Fire & Emergency Services, Police and medical services from safe location by calling 101, 100 and 108 respectively.
  7. Listen to PA (Public Addressal) System of the plant/ factory, local radio/ TV channels for advice from district administration/fire/health/police and other concerned authorities
  8. Provide correct and accurate information to government official.
  9. Inform others on occurrence of event at public gathering places (like school, shopping centre, theatre etc.).
  10. Don’t pay attention to the rumours and don’t spread rumours.+

General Precautions During Normal Time

  1. Do not smoke, lit fire or spark in the identified hazardous area
  2. Sensitize the community living near the industrial units and they should be more vigilant about the nature of industrial units and associated risks.
  3. Keep the contact numbers of nearest hazardous industry, fire station, police station, control room, health services and district control room, for emergency use.
  4. Avoid housing near the industries producing or processing the hazardous chemicals, if possible.
  5. Participate in all the capacity building programmes organized by the government/ voluntary organizations / industrial units.
  6. Take part in preparing disaster management plan for the community and identify safe shelter along with safe and easy access routes.
  7. Prepare a family disaster management plan and explain it to all the family members.
  8. Make the family/ neighbours aware of the basic characteristics of various poisonous/ hazardous chemicals and the first aid required to treat them.
  9. Adequate number of personal protective equipments needs to be made available, to deal with emergency situation.
  10. Prepare an emergency kit of items and essentials in the house, including medicines, documents and valuables.