Case Study - HMEPO
NCEC recently received a call from a Hazardous Materials and Environmental Protection Officer (HMEPO) regarding an incident where a member of the public had come across a small case containing labelled tubes in a warehouse. The tubes were labelled Mustard Gas, B.B.C., Phosgene and Lewisite. One of the tubes had an unsecured cap and the person that had discovered the tube had subsequently gone to hospital.
Our Emergency Responder had received a similar call earlier this year and advised the caller that from the description given, the item was likely to be a kit originating from World War 2. These kits would have been issued to Air Raid Precautions (ARP) personnel or HM Forces to help them identify the gases should a release occur. The Emergency Responder provided advice on the hazards associated with each of the substances and risks presented to medical staff treating the casualty. The Emergency Responder also advised on decontaminating the casualty and the personal protective equipment (PPE) required for the Fire & Rescue Service crews to enter the site. After the incident had been resolved the Health Protection Agency (HPA) confirmed that the item involved was an ARP stimulant test kit, as the Emergency Responder had suspected.
Immediate access to qualified chemists ensures that the most appropriate actions and suitable precautions are taken. Our Emergency Responders draw on their academic knowledge, industrial experience and specialist training at the NCEC, as well as knowledge from previous incidents, to help protect people, property, and the environment.