Wednesday, September 28, 2011

If a toxic gas alarm sounded now...?

2005-11-21 Chemical Works, Saltend
Harmless water vapour from Saltend
IF YOU HEARD the Toxic Alarm from Saltend Chemicals Park sounding off now... what would you do? This is the question that residents living in the proximity of Saltend should ask themselves and ask their neighbours:

You are out shopping in Hedon Town Centre; you are at a bus stop waiting for a bus; you are driving into Hull or on the way home after dropping the children off at school... when you hear the siren from Saltend begin to wail!

Sounding like a World War II siren, the sound is familiar enough to send the proverbial shiver down your spine. Your first reaction is likely to be "Is it a Test?", and if you can get within sight-line of Saltend, your eyes would probably turn towards the distinctive landscape of towers and chimneys. Is there any sign that anything is wrong?  Is there a distinctive cloud of poisonous, toxic gases visible? 
It might not necessarily be the case that vapours you see  - if you can see any at all - from the site are poisonous. The atmospheric conditions around the site quite often creates dramatic subjects for local photographers and these vapours are quite harmless.

You ask people around you if they are aware of a test taking place - everybody else is experiencing the same quandary: Is it real or a test? Should we head off back home, pick the kids up, shelter in the nearest shop.....???

In the event of an actual toxic gas release and the sounding of one of the five emergency sirens from Saltend, then the above scenario of confusion will probably be experienced by the majority of people hearing any toxic alarm alert. Rather than decisive action a state of uncertainty would exist. Yet the advice from the five major companies based at the Saltend Chemical Parks is clear and unequivocal. It was published in a booklet Major Emergency Advice booklet that was distributed to residents locally in May 2010 (do you still have yours?):

You should GO IN, STAY IN, TUNE IN and wait for the ALL CLEAR. 

GO IN doors. Do not collect your children from school, they will be properly cared for;

STAY IN and switch off ventilation fans, air conditioning units and all sources of ignition including gas and electrical heating appliances. Block incoming draughts and close windows. Do not light matches or naked flames. Do not smoke. Stay calm and rest;

TUNE IN to a local radio station; BBC Radio Humberside on 95.9 FM or 1485 AM, KCFM on 99.8 FM, Viking FM on 96.9 FM, MAGIC 1161 AM or GALAXY on 105.8 AM and follow the instructions given. Do not use the phone to contact the companies, keep their lines free for emergency use;

ALL CLEAR. Wait inside until the all clear is given or you are given other advice. Messages giving the all clear will be issued by the Emergency Services, Company Representatives or local radio.

At the time of publishing this in 2010, the Hedon Blog asked:


In light of a minor release of non-toxic vapour from Saltend on Monday 26th September 2011, and calls from concerned workers that the toxic alarm should have been sounded, then perhaps we need to re-visit the Major Emergency Advice booklet - and ask some pertinent questions: In the light of a major release of toxic vapours from Saltend - then are we really prepared?

PhotoSaltend: Andy Beecroft


Post a Comment


About This Blog

Just might be of interest to those active in HU12 (post code area) communities and partnerships!?


Blog Archive


Hedon Blog

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP