Emergency Kit “C”: The Proven Equipment for Tank Car/Truck Emergency Response
Fittings leaks on chlorine tank cars and tank trucks rarely occur. Should a leak occur, however, prompt corrective action is required by trained, competent personnel with special equipment to stop the leak until the contents can be unloaded safely. The proven equipment to meet this critical need for more than 40 years has been the Chlorine Institute Emergency Kit “C,” which is specifically designed for use with standard U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) chlorine tank cars and cargo tanks.
What is in an Emergency Kit “C”?
he Chlorine Institute “C” kit contains devices and tools to stop leaks in and around the pressure relief device and angle valves used to load chlorine into and unload it from the tank. These valves are located within a steel enclosure mounted on the chlorine tank car or truck. The “C” kit is the chlorine emergency kit for chlorine tank cars and trucks that is manufactured to design specifications of The Chlorine Institute. Since being introduced in the late 1960s, more than 5,500 “C” kits have been supplied to emergency responders all over North America by Indian Springs Manufacturing Co. (www.indiansprings.com), Baldwinsville, N.Y.
Why “C” Kit; What Happened to “A” and “B”?
The Chlorine Institute “A” and “B” emergency kits, also manufactured by Indian Springs Manufacturing Co., are used to stop leaks in 100- or 150-pound cylinders (“A” kit) and one-ton containers (“B” kit).
Who Typically Uses the “C” Kit and How Are These Personnel Trained?
Public- and private-sector emergency response organizations own “C” kits and are trained to use them. Public-sector responders typically would be fire departments, while private-sector responders could be CHLOREP (Chlorine Emergency Plan) teams from Chlorine Institute member companies or emergency-response contractors. The Chlorine Institute periodically provides free training for both public- and private-sector responders in “C” kit use through both TRANSCAER® (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) sessions and individual member outreach. For example, in October 2009 the Chlorine Institute in cooperation with the Union Pacific Railroad trained 140 Memphis-area emergency responders in how to deal with a chlorine emergency, including how to apply a “C” kit.
The Chlorine Institute also has a video, “How to Use the Chlorine Institute Emergency Kit ‘C’ for Chlorine Tank Cars and Tank Trucks.” and an instruction booklet, Chlorine Institute Emergency Kit “C” for Chlorine Tank Cars & Tank Trucks, both of which are available via its Web site – www.chlorineinstitute.org -- to all emergency responders. In addition, Chlorine Institute member companies provide training to local public-sector emergency responders upon request. TRANSCAER® participating organization conduct training nationwide on hazardous materials emergency response.
Can You Provide More Information about the CHLOREP Program?
The Chlorine Institute has divided the United States and Canada into regional sectors, each with a CHLOREP team from plants that produce, package and consume chlorine. These sectors are arranged primarily along state or provincial boundaries. When a CHLOREP team is dispatched to an incident, it will come from within the region and from the closest team resource (plant or contractor), or the team that can reach the incident fastest. The CHLOREP system is set up to provide technical assistance to first responders. That assistance may be provided by phone or a team sent to the site, if the incident commander deems it to be necessary. If a CHLOREP team is dispatched to an incident, it arrives with the type of emergency kit to deal with the situation, as well as protective gear to enter a potentially hazardous area. You can learn more about the CHLOREP program by visiting www.chlorineinstitute.org. CHLOREP teams are activated in the United States through CHEMTREC (ChemicalTransportationEmergencyCenter), www.chemtrec.com, which is administered by the American Chemistry Council, and in Canada through Canutec, www.tc.gc.ca/eng/canutec/menu.htm.
What Other Steps are being taken to Ensure Safe Bulk Transport of Chlorine?
The U.S. and Canadian governments, chlorine shippers and carriers, and other stakeholders are taking a number of steps to ensure that chlorine can continue to be transported safely and securely throughout North America. They include:
Conducting a service trial of valve assemblies designed with spring-loaded check valves that prevent the flow of liquid chlorine or vapor in the event a product valve is broken off or damaged during an accident. This new configuration, currently being tested on 25 chlorine tank cars, is intended to reduce the likelihood of any chlorine loss during an accident. The new configuration also is designed to accommodate the use of a “C” kit in the very unlikely event that it might still be needed in an emergency situation.
Providing input in developing a U.S. Department of Transportation rule that took effect in March 2009 that requires new tank cars containing chlorine and other toxic inhalation hazard materials to have better puncture resistance from side impact with a combination of thicker inner shells and/or thicker outer jackets. In addition, each end of the tank car must be protected with a full head shield where not already mandated by existing regulations. To prevent a chlorine release in a rollover, enhanced protection of valves, top fittings and nozzles used to load or unload a car is also required.
Committing to significant research exploring the future rail tank car, with the goal to significantly improve safety and security performance.
What is Chlorine Rail Transport’s Safety Record?
Rail is one of the safest modes of chlorine transportation. Some three million tons of chlorine are shipped by rail annually, typically in 90-ton tank cars. This tonnage amounts to more than 30,000 tank car shipments a year. Of the more than 1.5 million chlorine tank car shipments since 1965, there have been only 11 breaches of a tank car (incidents where chlorine escaped into the air because of damage from an accident) – 0.00073 percent of all shipments. Overall, accident rates for rail shipments of all hazardous materials, including chlorine, have declined by 88 percent since 1980.
What is the Chlorine Institute’s Position on Calls to replace the “C” Kit?
The Chlorine Institute believes suggestions that the “C” kit could be eliminated in favor of a device that would enclose the valves atop a chlorine tank car are ill-advised and premature. The “C” kit has been used successfully since the 1960s on those rare occasions when valves damaged due to an accident have resulted in a chlorine release or potential release. With more than 5,500 “C” kits already in the hands of trained U.S. and Canadian emergency responders, they represent the proven technology for this important public safety purpose.
While significant progress has been made in developing an enhanced chlorine tank car and valve assembly, it will take many years before older cars can be retired and replaced with these new ones. There are more than 6,000 cars in service with the traditional standard chlorine fittings configuration. Eliminating the “C” kit while these cars remain in service is not a reasonable consideration, and would make chlorine emergency response less effective than it is today.
Why Not Just Stop Transporting Chlorine?
Chlorine chemistry is essential to everyday life. The products of chlorine chemistry make possible clean water and safe foods, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, energy efficient building materials, renewable energy, computers, electronics, automobiles, and much more. For more than 95 percent of these applications, there are no reasonable substitutes for chlorine. While much of the chlorine produced is consumed without having to transport it to a different site, there are many sites throughout the United States and Canada that are incapable of producing chlorine on site, and accordingly it must be shipped in from a producer site.
Virginia Association of Hazardous Materials Response Specialists
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