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View Diary: Boston, MA vs West, TX (281 comments)

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  •  One thing that's been bugging me is I've just (33+ / 0-)

    made a list of all the hazardous materials in our lab and a map of where they are stored specifically for the fire department.  It was part of the process of getting a business license, and it was the fire chief who came to inspect, and pointed us to haz mat to get the appropriate paperwork in. (Like you, we also had to get special adapters for our flame and acid cabinets to make the doors automatically shut -- anti-regulation Utah is one of only a few states that require this).
    It was not a hard thing to do -- sort of a pain and time consuming, but not that hard.  As I was doing it, I was thinking that were there a fire in the building, first responders had every right to know what they might encounter, and where they might encounter it.  I felt that compiling the list and making the map was the only decent thing to do, not just a hoop to jump through to get a business license, or a means of preventing an OSHA fine.  
    In thinking of the tons of dangerous crap the plant in Texas had, and of the first responders who had no clue what they were dealing with, I'm furious with those who could have let the fire department and community know what they had, and didn't.  It's completely irresponsible, and it may well have led to deaths.

    "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

    by middleagedhousewife on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:49:57 PM PDT

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    •  Good for you... (18+ / 0-)

      Two stories on this topic:

      I have a friend who retired from the Evanston Ill. fire department (and now lives in Watertown).  He also has an undergrad degree in chemistry.  So the department gave him the job of reading things like the map you made, and was always around when they went to an industrial site - he wasn't a captain, but it was his call on water or foam, and when all they should do is get everyone away.  Some time during his tenure, his fellow fire fighters bought him a T shirt:  It had their logo on it, and it read "I am a trained professional.  If you see me running, try to keep up".

      The other one talks about when that info doesn't exist (or isn't heeded).  My mother-in-law was the chemistry teacher at the local prep school (Pennington in NJ)  A recently built classroom building caught fire.  Mary showed up, because it included her classroom, and lab store room.  (This was in the 60's, and attitudes expressed in Mad Men were pretty typical.  I am sure things like her 5'1" height played a part).  Anyhow she walked up to the person directing things and said something like "third floor second and third rooms from the end, no water, its the chemistry lab, and there's a couple of hundred grams of sodium metal stored there"  She got back a "yes lady, we know what we are doing".   She got herself to the far side of the truck, and waited.  They ignored her warning, and the result was as predicted.  Luckily they were fighting it from the ground so nobody was seriously injured.

      No, I don't know why she had that much sodium on hand.  I would think it would provide too much temptation to the average, slightly nerdy high school student.

      This planet needs a lot more kids who think taking a lawnmower apart is more fun than playing a videogame.

      by rjnerd on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 01:02:49 AM PDT

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      •  I was a chem lab nerd in the early 60s (8+ / 0-)

        I literally would go dumpster-diving behind the MSU Chem building (rode my bike over there on Sunday afternoons) to salvage the remnants out of reagent bottles and usable glassware.  All sorts of goodies for a HS kid to play with. Learned to make things like:

        Silver acetylide?

        Nitrogen tri-iodide?

        Came to grasp the concept "triple-bond".

        These days I would be arrested.  I did manage to not do myself any damage,  but the kid I sold my lab to did find a way to blow his hand off.

        Nerdy  high school boys ought to be monitored.

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:30:36 AM PDT

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    •  As a retired safety professional (6+ / 0-)

      I want to thank you. It was like pulling hen's teeth to get department heads to get that kind of info pulled together. I worked in healthcare and we had to meet a lot of regulation. Not just OSHA, but JCAHO too, as well as all sorts of other government and non-government agencies.

      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

      by SaraBeth on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:47:56 AM PDT

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