Sodium Hydroxide Emergency Management - Abu Dhabi
The 625 were contacted to develop and deliver a range of emergency management programs to suit the needs of workers, fire and rescue personnel, safety staff and medical staff who work in an in environment in which the risk of sodium hydroxide is high.
Part A of the program was delivered for non-clinical emergency response staff who would be responsible for undertaking fire-fighting, search and rescue, and spillage clean up.
Part B of the program concentrated on the response needed by doctors, nurses and paramedics. Standardisation of the initial response, assessment and treatment and referral pathways for patients was key.
625 have a strong background in special operations response and employ a variety of clinical and command experts drawn from the highest performing Special Operations Medical Units in the UK. The team we deployed for this project were chemical, biological and radiological medicine subject matter specialists.
Sodium hydroxide is a manufactured inorganic alkali used extensively in manufacturing. It is highly caustic and decomposes proteins at ordinary ambient temperatures and will cause severe chemical burns. Death is a common prognosis for those exposed to significant quantities of sodium hydroxide.
· Toxic by all routes of exposure
· Chemical classification: corrosive
· Inhalation causes irritation to the eyes and nose, sore throat, cough, chest tightness
· Ingestion will burn the mouth, throat and stomach
· Skin contact results in severe burns
· Eye contact causes pain, inflammation and severe burns
In addition to the standard risks posed by the substance, the manufacturing process of aluminium requires that the caustic substance is subjected to intense heat and is manipulated at extremes of pressure. These practices combine to produce a hazardous substance of epic proportions. In addition, sodium hydroxide when mixed with water causes an exothermic reaction (heat generation) and when mixed with acid can cause an expansive, near explosive reaction.