Download Water Security Handbook Rptb PDF

TitleWater Security Handbook Rptb
File Size8.6 MB
Total Pages72
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Threats

Incidents

Security

Water

Page 36

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Initial Hazard Assessment Before
Entering the Site

The fi rst step
in developing
a specifi c site
characterization
plan is to decide
if the site is safe
to enter and
investigate further.
This is done by making an initial hazard
assessment before the team is sent to the site. assessment before the team is sent to the site. assessment
You or the Incident Commander (which may be
you) should make this initial hazard assessment,
based on the available data and initial threat
evaluation. A decision is made regarding the
potential need for special hazardous material
handling techniques or equipment. This is a
very important step that protects the safety of
anyone who enters the site. People should not
be sent into a dangerous area without protection.
Response plans should document who would be
called to respond to contamination threats under
different hazard conditions.

Some possible hazard categories are described in
the textbox. Although these hazard categories
are based upon tentative identifi cation of the
particular type of contaminant at the site,
there may be enough information in a threat
warning to allow you to judge that a particular
hazard category may apply to the situation, thus
helping you to make an initial hazard assessment.
As you get more information from the site
characterization and sampling, you may want to
revise your initial hazard assessment (and take
appropriate precautions). Hazard evaluation is
an ongoing and iterative process.

Possible hazard categories:

Low Hazard – there are no obvious Low Hazard – there are no obvious Low Hazard
signs of radiological, chemical, or
biological contaminants at the site, in
the air, or on surfaces. Contaminants
that may be present in the water are
assumed to be dilute and confi ned to
the water.

Radiological Hazard – radiological Radiological Hazard – radiological Radiological Hazard
isotopes or emitters are identifi ed at the
site or in the water (i.e., through the use
of a fi eld radiation detector).

Chemical Hazard – presence of highly Chemical Hazard – presence of highly Chemical Hazard
toxic chemicals (e.g., chemical weapons
or biotoxins) or volatile toxic industrial
chemicals is potentially identifi ed at
the site or in the water, with a possible
risk of exposure through dermal or
inhalation routes.

Biological Hazard – presence of Biological Hazard – presence of Biological Hazard
pathogens is potentially identifi ed at
the site, with a possible risk of exposure
through dermal or inhalation routes.

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29Water Security Handbook

The initial hazard assessment is also important
for deciding who should be on the Site
Characterization Team, because the team should
have the skills, experience and equipment needed
to deal with the hazards that may exist on the
site. Some suggestions for possible staff are given
below:

• If the site appears to be a “Low Hazard”
site, the water utility staff may do the site
characterization.

• If there are clear signs of greater hazard
(radiological, chemical, or biological
hazard), then HazMat professionals
trained in hazardous materials safety and
handling techniques may need to do the
initial hazard assessment and the entire site
characterization as well.

• The HazMat team may do the initial hazard
assessment, fi nd that the site is safe enough
for others to enter, and allow the utility
staff or other agency staff to enter the site to
continue the site characterization.

The threat warning itself may suggest what the
hazard is. Be alert to the possibility of “red
herrings”, where the threat warning suggests
one type of hazard, yet the site actually contains
a different hazard. Another example would
be misleading clues designed to confuse the
investigation. If this occurs, the contamination
threat or incident is most likely intentional.

Approaching the Site and Doing a
Field Safety Screening

In this step following the initial hazard
assessment, the Site Characterization Team
approaches the site and conducts a fi eld safety
screening. Field safety screening is done to
observe site conditions and, in particular, to
detect any immediate threats to the response
team from contaminants in the atmosphere
or on surfaces. Field safety screening might
include fi eld testing for radioactivity, chemical
and biological agents. The site characterization
team should already have been trained in the
use of safety screening equipment. Because
such equipment can be expensive, you may
have to call in a HazMat specialist with the
proper equipment and training to conduct such
screening. Consider due diligence in all of your
decisions and actions.

The fi rst step in a fi eld safety screening is to defi ne
the perimeter of the site before approaching it.
The site perimeter should include the immediate
area of the incident as well as a buffer zone for
safety. Beginning at some distance outside the
site perimeter, the Site Characterization Team
carefully proceeds towards the site perimeter with
appropriate personal protective equipment and
fi eld monitoring equipment and notes anything
out of the ordinary. Signs of contamination could
include dead or sick animals, discarded chemical
containers, or other indicators.

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