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  1. #1
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    Default Use of water fog at a chlorine leak

    Does anyone have thoughts on using a water fog to affect a rescue at the site of a chlorine leak. Should this be attempted without a gas monitor. Thanks.


  2. #2
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    Keystone Heights,Florida
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    Well......At the "Trans-Caer" (Transportation Community Awareness & Emergency Response) workshop this past april at Florida State Fire College, I took the "Chlorine" class. The Instructor (who most are not Emergency Responders or FF) from one of the Chlorine manufactures said, Water fog "could" be a bad idea....... I'll ask around at our facility and see what some of our Phd's and other brainiacs say. We deal with the one ton and smaller cylinders! I can tell you we would probably use a fog spray on the one tons and just dump the smaller cylinders in a drum of water depending on where the leak is! Can't remember what the instructors reasoning was (can't find my notes) might have something to do with the fact that it produces Hydrocloric Acid when wet......When you look in the North American Emergency Response guide book, it says to "use water fog to divert vapor".....I'll get back with you on this when I get more info!

  3. #3
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    Default

    Before I got on the fire dept. I work in a bleach plant. We had the occasional chlorine leak and management made a point of educating firefighters to not use water. They said that a bi-product of H2O+CL would be HCL or hydrochloric acid. I'm certainly not a chemist so I'm not sure of the validity of this but it seems to make sense.

  4. #4
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    To answer your question: Yes 2H20+4Cl=4HCl+O2. The use of water will create hydrochloric acid. But what you create will be diluted by the water. But in a more simplier train of thought, it is better to do damage to a section of earth than to have a chlorine cloud drift into a populated area. If you had a large amount of runoff then I assume you could deal with it as a acid spill and dilute it.
    Firefighter/NREMT-B/Hazmat Tech
    To the Lord Jesus Christ: Thanks for providing a career where we can make a difference.

  5. #5
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    Yes Chlorine+H20=HCl what I would do, depending on the size of the leak is, hit it with water fog and with acid neutralizer, or if you don't have acid neutralizer hit it with a dry-chem extinguisher containing sodium or potassium bicarbonate. If it is a very large scale leak and you have an airport NEARBY , you could try requesting a crash truck, which typically carries in the neighborhood of 500lbs of sodium bicarb. If you have nothing to neutralize the acid go with the fog anyway you need to contain the cloud asap.









    Paramedics save lives, EMTs save Paramedics, Firefighters save EMTs and Paramedics, and Hazmat Techs save 'em all!!!!!!!!!!

  6. #6
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    LFDtruck2 posed the question originally "would you use water fog to perform a rescue"? My answer would be "Yes of course, if it was going to do any good". There is no argument that water and Chlorine Gas form Hydrochloric Acid, indeed that is one of the primary ways that Chlorine gas affects people where it combines with moisture and forms acid in eyes, lungs and mucous membranes. The danger of "creating" acid needs to be balanced against the danger of the Chlorine finding something else to react with before it could naturally dissapate in the air. Water fog can be used to bring down a Chlorine cloud and more water used to dilute the acid formed to relatively harmless levels. The one important caution is that spraying water on a leaking container will make a leak worse as the acid formed further erodes where the leak originally occurred. As to the question of using a gas detector, again circumstances will dictate our actions. With fully encapsulated protective clothing and Breathing apparatus it does not matter if we know the level of gas in the atmosphere or not. The rescue can proceed in safety. On the other hand if we do have information provided by a detector we are better informed. In every case we need to balance the risk of doing something against the risk of doing nothing. The WMD thread gives interesting reading about the protection provided by nothing more than turnouts and SCBA. It is well worth a viewing.
    Jim Maclean. IACOJ NZ branch

  7. #7
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    St. Louis Area
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    Default

    My teams would use water to suppress the vapors. Chlorine expands at a ration from liquid to gas of 1 to 800 I think. The best thing is to manage most of the liquid quickly as possible because it will expand 800 times when vaporized. The danger is the concentration for commercial use. Chlorine is used in many things like swimming pools and as a cleaning agent. That reminds me of an idea I was told, if you are near a swimming dump the chlorine in there. If you don't suppress the vapors you have just increase the problem to evacuation a larger area and/or risking a wind change rendering the mitigation more dangerous. Just remember the job is, if safely possible, to contain the danger to an area you control. Be mindful of where the run off will go. I also took a Trancaer 2 day class. I am fortunate to be two teams where we have chemist and industrial hygienist.

  8. #8
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    Augusta,GA
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    We have had to use this technique a couple of times here on various situations and have trained with the Olin OCEAN team on drills. You can control the cloud pretty good but as was said earlier just be mindful of the run off and the amount of water supply you have to start the operation. We use , if possible, an unmaned monitor(s) and a jumbo fog directed over the cloud, not the actual leak, to help us knockdown the cloud and somewhat control it. The unmaned works good just in case of a sudden wind change. If the wind does change then personnel are not in harm's way and can regroup and if needed set up additional monitors.

  9. #9
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    Cool

    We didn't use a fog on this one. Just was too big with 80,000 plus gallons. The cloud was at least 4 feet deep. A reporter asked if it was safe for residents to return. Then said, Oh, so they can go back and get their dead animals.
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