KIMT NEWS 3 – The chemical fire in Northwood still has state officials on their toes.
Prompted by Congressman Bruce Braley, the Iowa emergency response commission is gathering more information to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future.
While it’s important to know what hazardous materials are being held in different facilities, it’s just as important to know what’s in your own home.
As an emergency response coordinator, Steve O’Neil has seen his share of chemical emergencies. Some involve bigger facilities like Northwood Ag Products, but others in single family homes.
“Chemicals in the home to me are more of a concern because we take them for granted,” says O’Neil.
Since the Northwood chemical fire, Braley is seeking some statewide numbers to determine if storage facilities are receiving adequate oversight. The numbers reported to Braley indicate 26 Worth county facilities hold similar materials.
“The particular chemical that burned in Northwood is a very common agricultural chemical anymore,” commented HazMat technician Dean Mueller.
The difference between handling these chemicals in facilities versus homes is the training.
“It’s just one of the things, we train for whatever’s around. You get your two tier reports that tell you what different businesses have certain things that are on sites and usually they also include the quantities that you could find and so you know we actually train to do what we consider the most dangerous and most frequent issues that were going to run into,” commented Mueller.
“The commercial, the industrial, the people that haul it, that use it, the responders that have to, all take training of how to respond, how to use it and how to handle it.” “And homeowners don’t necessarily?” “No! They’re not required to,” says O’Neil.
From sink cleaner to garden fertilizer, all of these products have warning labels and instructions for safe use.
So make sure to read those labels carefully.
If you have questions about what your household labels mean, or what you should be looking for, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/kids/hometour/labels.htm.