From: "Alan Hall"
Date: October 28, 2005 8:53:16 PM EDT Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] [NAOSMM] Need your opinion on fire procedures Mr. Black, First off, if there was a REAL fire, then all questions go by the board. Ring the alarm, activate whatever you got for fire response, and get everybody the bloody Hell out of wherever it is... BUT, if this is a diddly-squat thing, THEN... Did ALL the smoke go up the hood? Then where's the smoke inhalation danger? (as Devil's advocate I work on smoke inhalation -- CO/CN issues and have researched them and cyanide antidotes for more than 20 years). The simple questions: IS anybody in danger? What are the dangers of leaving (say in my case a long time ago) up to 80 experiments generating hydrogen bromide gas when the Chem Lab in the basement had had its HVAC and all hoods shut off unbeknownst to all of us (Bubba and Jim Bob in maintenance are alive and perhaps well, but...) and my colleagues in the Fire Service were NOT pleased? Nor should they have been? NO! There's a time to revert to the old "Run like Hell in the uphill, upwind, opposite direction" of whatever it is (from rattlesnake bites to nuclear plant releases and everything in between). I can turn all members on to the Advanced Hazardous Materials Life Support Course, if anyone's interested; very good and internationally recognized, from the University of Arizona. But I want to inject a word of caution in here. You "cry WOLF!" too many times and sometime, soon, SOMEBODY is NOT not going to strap on his/her parachute or emergency escape ventilator, grab those the handles, and BAIL OUT! BAIL OUT! BAIL OUT! when it's the right time (and there will be a right time; the only question is WHEN?) Because they've heard it too many times before; because it wasn't true then?, and why should it be NOW? -- and MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, this is the RIGHT TIME -- DON'T PANIC may be good advice, but there's a time to run like Hell in the opposite direction. Don't give the word, if you can, until it's the RIGHT word. Interesting tee shirt a good guy from Australia had at the World Association of Disaster and Emergency Medicine this last May in Edinburgh, Scotland: on the front: "Specialist is chemical and biological warfare: on the back: "If you see me running, hold your breath and try to keep up!" (I seem to spend an increasing amount of my time trying to see that such things NEVER happen.) And your fireman is not wrong; I've seldom known one to be, including me with me red card. So it's easy to chase everybody outside, but consider the consequences if it isn't really necessary (half the time they don't even go; too many false alarms -- happened to me recently in a hotel in the Toronto area; everybody sat tight in the restaurant while the hooter went off and finally some good firefighters told us "no problem" - I checked; I could have thrown my chair through the nearest window and been out of there in a parachute landing fall roll; but the rest of the clientele simply ignored it -- there's a lesson in there somewhere; and the rest is left as an exercise for the student). Perhaps we should save the "It's OK to Panic Now" part for when it REALLY IS! Just a thought...seen too many of both mistakes. Always was the "Voice of Reason"; doesn't mean I was always right or ever will be. Alan H. Hall, M.D. President and Chief Medical Toxicologist TCMTS, Inc. Elk Mountain, WY and Clinical Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine and Biomterics University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Denver, Co
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