Every day, 10 to 30 trains and hundreds of trucks pass through the City of Swift Current, many of these carrying dangerous goods. Transportation collisions involving dangerous goods are becoming common throughout North America and it is just a matter of time before one of these incidents occurs in the Swift Current area. Unfortunately, many people wrongly believe that the proper thing to do when one of these incidents occurs is to evacuate the area and, in doing so, they expose themselves to extreme danger.
In addition to transportation accidents, numerous businesses and industries use chemicals in their operations in and around the city. These include the water treatment plant, hockey arenas, farm chemical storage, fuel dealerships, and other industries.
Over the past number of years, the chemical industry has developed programs to protect the public from the effects of these incidents and in most cases, they involve sheltering in your home. It is now universally recognised that you are safer in your home than out in the cloud of toxic gases.
Shelter-in-Place is a program started by the chemical companies to protect those people who live around chemical manufacturing plants but the same drills can be used in any community during an accident involving the release of toxic gasses or dangerous goods.
To protect yourself and your family from the effects of a dangerous goods incident, follow these 5 easy steps:
- Upon learning of a dangerous goods mishap, move inside immediately,
- Close all windows and doors in your home,
- Turn off ventilation systems, and any fans which may draw air into or exhaust air out of your home,
- Go into a room and seal the door and windows with duct tape, and
Turn on the radio or television and await instructions from emergency response agencies.
If you are in serious danger, the response agencies will be able to evacuate you in a controlled and safe manner. In most cases, a toxic cloud will dissipate in the atmosphere in a few hours making it safe to leave your home once the worst is over.