Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chemical Spill

10 sickened in chemical spill


SPRINGDALE - A chlorine cloud at Maple Knoll Village, a retirement community in the 11000 block of Springfield Pike, sent 10 workers to area hospitals.
The employees were transported by ambulance to Bethesda North Hospital in Montgomery, Mercy Hospital in Fairfield and Jewish Hospital in Kenwood.

“Employees were mixing chemicals in the basement of the four-story building about 9:15 a.m. when an accident sent fumes through the building, said Becky Schulte, director of communications for Maple Knoll Village.”

It doesn’t take a terrorist attack to expose people to chemicals, sometimes all it takes is an accident. We need to keep this in mind at our workplace or school.

If you happen upon an individual that is down, our first inclination should be to run over and make sure they are okay. If they are not responsive, we want to check for vital signs. CPR may need to be administered.

However, if more than one individual is down, our response should be different. Heart attack, stroke and diabetes are not contagious so encountering a group of downed individuals indicates the presence of an agent or other danger in the area. This factor could be a chemical of some kind (either a gas or something that has been ingested such as a poison), perhaps a biological agent is present, or worse a sniper.

If you happen to see a group of individuals that have collapsed, immediately call 911 and report the situation. Do not enter further into the effected area as you risk becoming a casualty yourself. You need to report as much information to authorities possible. Take note of any signs of trauma (indicating an explosion or shooter), any chemicals spills, unusual odors or the presence of dead animals in the vicinity.

Mark the area to warn others behind you not to proceed.

While we are on this subject, be on the look out for suspicious packages. If you see powder or what looks like oil seeping through the wrapping, do not handle it! Get everyone out of the immediate area and call authorities. Mark the area to prevent others from entering the area until authorities area. Never smell, touch or taste any substances that may be on packages.

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