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View Diary: Toxic Texas politics on display in fertilizer plant explosion (126 comments)

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  •  It was NOT their job (9+ / 0-)

    I'm a volunteer firefighter, and the training in our department constantly stresses this theme: You do no one any good by becoming a victim yourself. We plan how we would deal with fires involving the major structures in our community, and in some cases--such as a facility with a large propane tank--we acknowledge that there just isn't any safe way to put the fire out. Instead, we decide how far away we'd have to stay to avoid becoming injured or killed in an explosion.

    And that is not just a local policy. From Essentials of Fire Fighting (the International Fire Service Training Association textbook):

    Upon arriving at the scene, the officer in charge has to decide whether it is safe and/or feasible to attempt an emergency operation. ...The IC [incident commander]  must decide when the risks involved...are great enough to warrant limiting the actions of fire fighting personnel...
    The function of the fire service is not to add victims to the situation. The IC's first priority must be firefighter safety; the second priority is the victim's safety. The IC should never choose a course of action that requires firefighters to take unnecessary risks.
    •  Remember, they may not have known the hazard (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, tacet

      It seems possible nobody knew there was ammonium nitrate there.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 03:30:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nobody knew? (4+ / 0-)

        When our department draws up pre-fire plans, we talk to the folks in charge of each establishment about the risks there, and get permission to visit the site for a practice run.

        There's a difference between "regulatory authorities weren't told" and "nobody knew".

      •  That's what I'm thinking too (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dotdash2u, a2nite, Catte Nappe

        Would they have been using water if they knew that there was ammonium nitrate there?

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 03:38:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Water is ok to use but not in a way (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes, Catte Nappe

          that pushes the stuff into organic or combustible materials. Like a fire hose shoving some onto a burning pallet. Oxidizes rapidly with that action- in other words, explodes. Water to "flood" is ok. See link for MSDS in above post of mine.

          When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.-Mark Twain

          by Havoth on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 05:44:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hey Catte, see my post above with links (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe


            Of greatest concern was up to 270 tons of ammonium nitrate, which the owner had properly reported to state authorities. Reporting the existence of ammonium nitrate is important because of the chemical's well-known potential to explode...By itself, when properly ventilated, the chemical is considered safe. So what caused the chemical to explode in West?

            Explosion and pipeline safety expert Don Deaver said the likely trigger is the fire that raged just feet away from the storage building on Wednesday night.

        When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.-Mark Twain

        by Havoth on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 05:40:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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