Interesting calls - May 2013

Chemical substances washed up on a beach      

NCEC recently received a call regarding debris, including a surface marker buoy, which had been washed up on a beach. The buoy was labelled with a UN number and the fire service was looking for advice regarding the hazards of the substance.

Our Emergency Responder identified the substance type from the UN number and provided advice on the flammability of the substance and the protective equipment required to handle the substance.

Immediate access to expert advice means that hazards can be accurately identified allowing incidents to be resolved quickly without compromising safety.

Responding to a small, indoor chemical incident


A fire officer called NCEC regarding an incident where a chemist had mixed a small quantity of potassium permanganate solution with temazepam. The reaction had created a small fire, which burnt the chemist’s hand and produced fumes that the chemist’s colleague had inhaled.

Our Emergency Responder advised that there was a possibility that hydrogen chloride could be present in the fumes, but this would be a small quantity given the small amounts mixed. The Emergency Responder further advised that the container be sealed and the building ventilated. The
Emergency Responder also suggested that the recommended level of personal protective equipment could be reduced because of the small quantities involved.

Our Emergency Responders draw on their in-depth chemical knowledge and experience dealing with incidents to provide practical advice, ensuring the safety of the emergency services and members of the public.

Tub full of hazardous substances found near bus stop

A tub, which appeared to be melting because of its contents, had been discovered near a bus stop by a member of the public. A fire officer dealing with the incident phoned NCEC for advice.

Our Emergency Responder suggested that the tub was probably melting as a result of an exothermic reaction. The Emergency Responder advised that the remnants of the tub should be treated as hazardous and suggested a route for disposal. The Emergency Responder was also able to advise
on the personal protective equipment that should be worn when handling the substance.

Immediate access to NCEC’s chemists ensures that the most appropriate actions and suitable precautions are taken.