23 & 24 February 2010 at the Crowne Plazza, Birmingham
The 2010 Hazmat Event promised to be bigger and better than ever before and thanks to ongoing support from both the Emergency Services and a large variety of other Hazmat Professionals, this promise was not broken.
The Third Annual Conference for Hazmat Professionals was held over two days at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Birmingham, and had the greatest turnout the event has ever experienced, with over 130 delegates and speakers building upon the success of the past two years. The event was a great opportunity for a large range of experts to connect, share experiences and learn about the latest developments relating to the Hazmat industry.
The delegate feedback from the event once again reinforced the need for a meeting of this kind to share experiences and information provided by a large range of speakers who are experts in their fields. Comments such as “It is a little chastening sometimes to be reminded just how much you don't know, and about so many subjects, too!” seemed to solidify the reason for the Hazmat Conference to continue for many more years to come.
Vij Randeniya OBE, West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service, opened the proceedings by expressing that the conference was a great opportunity for all Hazmat responders to communicate with each other effectively and how we can continue learning from each other’s experiences.
The conference presentations began with a much-needed clarification from Professor Allister Vale of the National Poisons Information Service (Birmingham Unit), City Hospital on the controversies over the management of Hydrofluoric Acid (HF). It was interesting for all delegates to hear about the controversy surrounding some HF decontamination techniques which may currently be used, and the potential that alternative techniques may be more suitable that are not currently being investigated, specifically the use of Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and its efficient absorption of Calcium Gluconate.
Duncan White of Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue gave a particularly interesting presentation on an acetylene fire incident and the repercussions the incident could have had on both people and the environment if it had not been handled carefully.
Other highlights from day one of the conference included a joint effort from Peter Gustafson, London Fire Brigade and Peter Cope, Scientific Adviser for Bureau Veritas, on the handling of Hazmat incidents in the capital, the NCEC’s own Hugh Roberts on the future technology of nanoparticles and the potential impact on the Hazmat world, future trends in road transport from Brian Randal of Veridas Consulting Ltd, and also a variety of presentations on exposure and monitoring from Mark Gibbs at the Met Office, Damien Thompson from the Environment Agency, and Chris Keen of the Health and Safety Laboratory.
All the presentations provided the delegates with plenty to discuss over dinner on the evening of day one. After a packed day of informative information, a little light relief was greatly appreciated in the form of an after dinner speaker, comedian Gary Marshall, who provided a much needed break from the thought of all related to Hazmat in preparation of an equally informative day two.
Day two was opened by Ali Karim of the Hazchem Network. Ali was particularly successful in emphasising the need for packaged goods to be loaded correctly onto transport vehicles and provided great photographic evidence of the repercussions associated with poor packing and loading.
Bob Hark, Area Manager Dorset Fire & Rescue gave an overview of the New National Operations Guidance due to be launched to all Fire & Rescue Services on 29th September 2010 at the Fire and Rescue College. The guidance will contain information on operational, tactical and technical advice for all FRS who handle Hazmat Incidents as well as CBRN and decontamination information.
After lunch we were pleased to welcome Jim Moffat, South Hook LNG, and Geoff Hunt, K Line LNG Shipping (UK) Ltd who gave all delegates a detailed presentation on the movement of LNG once at the shore line and the properties of LNG, and the movement of LNG across the waters. Both presentations were a welcome addition to the ever growing Hazmat event.
Day two ended with two presentations about gas safety. We received an insider’s view on the handling of gas cylinders during incident response from Lester Bradley, BOC Group, and a detailed presentation on the recommended 24hour, 200m exclusion zone for acetylene cylinders involved in a fire and whether looking at whether this advice is valid and if there is potential to reduce the time, resulting in a more quick and efficient incident response.