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Monthly Archives

June 2018

Ultimate Guide to Chemical Hazmat Decontamination

By | chemical attack preparation, chemical spill clean up

What are the procedures or steps to take when a chemical has been released into your environment? Something that most emergency departments, emergency medical services (EMS) and even the military are armed with is both the knowledge and the equipment to have the ability to decontaminate such instances of chemical releases. Chemical releases can occur from terrorist attacks, chemical spills, or even chemical accidents in the workplace. The slight possibility of a chemical release requires those emergency responders & HAZMAT to be prepared for such an event with a decontamination plan. There are tailored training classes and programs geared to teaching the necessary decontamination training needed for chemical releases – including the necessary hazmat equipment desired to decontaminate the released chemical. Therefore, understanding what decontamination is and what hazmat decontamination equipment and procedures are required to accomplish the potential chemical contamination is grave to overall safety and health.

What Does Decontamination Mean

Decontamination is the process of removing, reducing, or neutralizing contaminants that have accumulated on personnel, equipment and in the environment – it is critical to health and safety in hazardous conditions. Decon is a vital component to hazardous emergency response, as time becomes of the essence when dealing with a chemical release or attack. The process of decontamination is so important that, in many cases, no one is permitted to enter a hazardous area until decon is set up and ready to implement. However, sometimes containing a hazardous environment or area can be difficult, particularly when you are left dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist attack that released chemicals into a large populated area. Thus, the importance of decontamination is critical to public health and safety.

Importance of Decontamination

Every day, there are large quantities of hazardous chemicals that are created, transported, stored, and even applied for industrial or household purposes. While keeping in mind other potential threats like opposing countries that have stockpiles of chemical weapons that could be deployed unknowingly into the environment. Therefore, the importance of decontamination is high as proper decontamination practices can help aid in the reduction of hazardous chemicals, thus protecting health and ensuring safety in the environment. Chemicals can settle onto the surfaces and contaminate the area, therefore releasing airborne chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) agents into the air. When these chemicals become airborne into the air, the risk of exposure increases for those in the environment which leads to the need for emergency responders and military members to quickly react to the chemical in the area, by utilizing a decontamination plan and chemical decontamination applications.

When chemicals are released into the environment, they can quickly spread throughout the infected area and reach for pass the deployed space. Three areas to monitor for contamination of chemicals includes surfaces, air, and on your skin.

Chemical Contamination on Skin

Chemical contamination on your skin will require almost immediate action. To start, you will quickly want to remove your clothing, as clothing can contribute to contamination and contact to your skin because the chemicals can become absorbed into the fabric of your clothing. Also, you will want to remove hazardous skin and hair from your skin with any dry absorbent material and follow with a wet decontamination – shower, swimming pool, etc.- to aid in the removal process.

Chemical Contamination on Surfaces

Chemical agents will disperse into the environment and begin settling onto the surfaces. When chemicals proceed to contaminate the surfaces, having a successful and effective decontamination solution is imperative to complete decontamination. Particularly, when dealing with Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) the difficulty in completely neutralizing and decontaminating the toxic chemical can be no easy task. Utilizing a surface decontamination application such as those of FAST-ACT can help to rid the surface of potentially hazardous chemicals that people can become exposed to and come into contact with.

Chemical Contamination in the Air

Vapor chemical releases that find their way into the air can become potentially toxic depending on the chemical at play and the quantity of the chemical in the air. Chemical exposure can occur when you breathe in air that is contaminated by hazardous chemicals that have circulated in the air. A chemical vapor release can be difficult to decontaminate and control as it can quickly make a significant impact on public health and safety. To effectively neutralize and decontaminate the hazardous chemical vapors you will need a vapor neutralizing pressurized cylinder that can work to decontaminate the sources of toxic vapor.

Types of Decontamination

There are a couple different methods for decontamination that first-responders, HAZMAT, and the military utilize. These different types of decontamination include water/soap wash, oxidation/hydrolysis, and hydrolysis. Going through each of these types of decontamination will help to determine the necessary chemical hazmat decontamination you will need for each chemical contamination situation.

Chemical Decontamination for Skin: Water/Soap Wash

Can soap and water do the trick for complete chemical decontamination on your skin? For a quick and immediate response to a chemical release, soap and water might be the quickest solution within reach. Soap and water is a low-cost decontaminant that removes chemicals by washing them off the skin. In most cases, large amounts of water or soap and water are effective for washing most agents including chemical, biological, and radiological contaminants.

Chemical Decontamination for Surface: FAST-ACT Chemical Decontamination Kit

Surfaces, following a chemical release, can become contaminated and therefore create a hazardous environment for those exposed. Combating chemicals on the surface will require effective chemical neutralizing applications such as the FAST-ACT Chemical Decontamination Kit. The effective FAST-ACT Chemical Decon Kit provides an assortment of popular surface decon products all contained in a compact storage box. These surface decon products all utilize the proprietary FAST-ACT technology for neutralizing and decontaminating a broad spectrum of chemical agents. FAST-ACT contains a proprietary formulation of non-toxic high-performance specialty materials that are effective at broad spectrum chemical neutralization including chemical warfare agent neutralization. Included in the FAST-ACT Chemical Decontamination Kit is the following:

  • FAST-ACT Decon Mitt (4 Mitts): Allows for safe and easy wiping and handling of chemical spills. Simply secure the mitt on your hand and apply to the contaminated surface.
  • FAST-ACT Sorbent Powder Bottle Set: Two 50-gram proofer bottles of FAST-ACT. Just tear, open the pack, flip open the bottle top, aim and squeeze on the surface contamination.
  • FAST-ACT Microfiber Towel Set: 2 microfiber towels, just open the pack, unroll towels, and use the green towel to absorb the excess liquid chemical from the surface, then use the FAST-ACT containing towel for surface chemical decontamination.
  • FAST-ACT/ VapourKlenz Face Masks (3): Offers our patented neutralization technology in a comfortable face mask for nuisance particulates and chemical odors.

Chemical Decontamination for Air: FAST-ACT Pressurized Cylinder

Whether you are dealing with a chemical release, spill, or attack, the chemical(s) can become airborne in your environment, tainting the quality of your air and increasing your risk of danger. When hazardous chemicals are in your air it increases the risk of inhalation and exposure, therefore having a vapor chemical decontamination application is imperative to control the safety of the environment and those exposed. The FAST-ACT Pressurized Cylinder is a vapor chemical decontamination product contained in an extinguisher for easy release. This vapor decontamination application is effective at removing harmful vapors in an enclosed space and can also be used to decontaminate gear, vehicles, or vapors in the air.

Personal Protection Safety Gear: Gas Mask vs Respirator Mask

By | chemical attack preparation, chemical spill clean up, terrorist attack preparation, Uncategorized

Are you prepared with personal protection gear in the event that your safety is compromised? Safety is of the utmost importance, whether you are a concerned parent who fears for your child’s safety, work in a field that has you exposed to hazardous chemicals, or even if you are just a concerned human that wants to have the proper safety gear within arm’s reach in the event that it becomes critical to your health. Personal protective equipment can include protective clothing and ensembles, eye safety, and most importantly air respirators. When hazardous chemicals are released into your environment, the chemicals can enter into your body through your skin, eyes, or through inhalation, and therefore having protection from these toxic chemicals with personal protection safety gear has become a direr need for all. Chemicals have the ability to spread rapidly and aggressively throughout the exposed environment, and inhalation can be the area with the most exposure for humans. In recent years, gas masks have been the ultimate protective solution for any chemical or gas release in the environment, however, could there be an alternative solution that can more effectively guard you against chemical exposure? Many people have begun to prepare themselves with protective air respirator masks as a form of chemical protection for their air, rather than using gas masks, but is an air respirator mask better than a gas mask?

why do people wear gas masksPersonal Protection Preparedness: Why Do People Wear Gas Masks?

Disasters, attacks, or even a chemical spill can happen unexpectantly, and sometimes in the blink of an eye. Preparation for these unwanted and alarming situations can be critical, and in many cases having the proper preparations and protective safety gear in place can significantly minimize the risks and hazards presented in the environment no matter the situation at hand. For many people who work in an environment that has the potential for chemical releases or exposure such as in a lab or plant, they will be provided with the necessary personal protective equipment as an OSHA standard, but if you are more concerned about the imminent threat of chemical exposure in your every day, you may want to collect these safety gear to have on hand in the rare case that it is required to protect your health. The area in which most people are concerned with is air protection following a chemical release, spill, or attack. The average adult inhales and exhales close to 7 or 8 liters of air per minute, a total of 11,000 liters of air in a day. Therefore, when the air in your environment has become tainted with chemicals the inherent risk of breathing in a substantial level of chemicals is significantly high. Many people will turn to gas masks as a form of protection for chemical contamination in their air. Gas masks have long been the solution for chemical protection for hazardous air in the environment, dating back as far as World War I. And if a gas mask has been used for that long, how could it not be the best choice for protection against toxic contaminants in the air?

Benefits of Wearing Mask for Protection

Air pollutants and chemicals that find their way into the environment can have a significant impact on your overall health, especially when toxic chemicals such as chemical warfare agents have invaded your air. If this occurs in your environment a mask to protect yourself could be immensely beneficial.

Depending on the chemical released in the environment the health risks of exposure could vary. Chemical exposure health risks are contingent on the type of chemical present, the amount of the chemical, the length of exposure, and the age and health of the person exposed. The potential health effects that can occur from exposure to chemicals include:

  • Organ damage
  • A weakening of the immune system
  • Reproductive problems and birth defects
  • Effects on the mental cognitive or physical development of children
  • Cancer

A protective face mask will aid in the reduction of possible exposure symptoms, thus a key benefit of utilizing a face mask. Also, face masks will filter out the small particulate matter in the air that can cause severe symptoms, this particulate matter can be a result of a fire, explosion, or even from the residue of a chemical release.

Gas Mask vs Respirator Mask

Gas masks are a protective mask used to cover a person’s face as a defense against poisonous or hazardous gases and chemicals. This type of mask will cover your face almost completely and includes a face piece or mask, along with a filter or cartridge device. Most gas masks utilize activated carbon or charcoal as a filtering technology, however, charcoal only removes certain chemicals and once the charcoal is full it will begin re-releasing the captured chemicals. Thus, gas masks are effective only if used with the correct cartridge or filter for chemical substance and it also requires more replacements for the filter, so the time for effectiveness per filter is hard to determine, especially when exposed to a hazardous environment.

A respirator, on the other hand, is usually only effective at protecting against particles. These types of masks usually do not protect against chemicals, gases, or vapors and are really intended for low hazard levels. Particulate respirators are categorized as “air-purifying respirators” because they clean particles out of the air as you breathe, which is great, but for chemical protection, respirators tend to fall short. However, what if there was a respirator that was both effective at particulate removal and chemical/gas neutralization? The FAST-ACT VapourKlenz Face Mask utilizes a proprietary technology that is highly reactive against a broad spectrum of chemicals and noxious odors including chemical warfare agents, as well as particulate removal. This mask is lightweight and can easily be carried around for immediate use, which is critical in preparedness for chemical exposure.

Why Buy a Gas Mask?

Buying a gas mask has its perks but it also has its downfalls as well. Gas masks offer protection from chemicals and gases in the environment. However, you need to be aware that not all gas masks are the same. Not all gas masks and filters are effective against chemical warfare and riot control agents. Without protection from these agents, the job of the gas mask is greatly reduced, and almost entirely useless. Thus, it is important to ensure the filter that accompanies the masks is effective at protecting against nuclear and chemical threats. Also, size and fit are critical. Many gas masks will fit differently which can significantly impact filtration of the hazardous chemical agents in the air.

Filter life on your gas mask can also become a major issue present when using it in a hazardous environment. Most gas mask filters need to be replaced within hours of initial use, which is not conducive when presented with a hazardous environment. Lastly, in the event of a chemical attack, release, or spill it is almost always too late when you get your gas mask on. Gas masks are not easily transported or carried every day, which results in a delay in getting the protection on when you need it. This can severely impact your health and can lead to high levels of exposure.

Why Buy a Chemical Respirator Mask?

Chemical respirator masks can offer a vast amount of benefits compared to gas masks for protection against chemicals and particulates. Firstly, unlike gas masks, chemical respirator masks offer protection without full face coverage. Chemical respirator masks go over the ears and will cover your nose and mouth for inhalation protection. Although this does not offer eye protection, it is for many people, a better option as it does not invoke claustrophobia in people who are claustrophobic. All you need with this chemical respirator mask is a pair of protective goggles and your face will be protected.

Also, chemical respirator masks, specifically the FAST-ACT VapourKlenz Face Mask is a broad spectrum chemical neutralization filter that is able to neutralize a vast amount of chemicals that come into contact with the filter. Gas masks only work against certain chemicals; therefore, a chemical respirator mask can offer more protection against chemicals. The filter life on a chemical respirator mask can also have a longer lifespan than that of a gas mask. Gas masks that use carbon technology filtration can fill up within hours after exposure to a toxic environment, whereas a chemical respirator mask, FAST-ACT VapourKlenz Face Mask, will last up to 3 months in hazardous conditions. Lastly, a chemical respirator mask offers more accessibility as the lightweight mask can be easily carried wherever you go, allowing you to be prepared to place the protective gear on as soon as chemicals are exposed into your environment.

Personal protection safety gear should be a concern for every and all individuals that want to protect themselves and the ones they love in the case of an emergency situation like a chemical attack or spill. Having the proper protective safety gear such as a chemical respirator mask will aid you in minimizing exposure and protecting your overall health.