Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Some tips from my Hazmat class

Way back in 2010 (seems like such a long time ago) I wrote a post about about dangerous goods and hazardous materials accidents.   http://whatifitistoday.blogspot.com/2010/11/dangerous-goodshaz-mat-transportation.html  Although I've changed jobs and no longer work for the state, this new job also requires Hazmat training.  In class the newer guidebook (2012) was passed out.  Afterward a couple of the students threw out their old, 2008, book.  I was able to grab one out of the trash before it got destroyed by food waste being thrown on top of it.  So now I have the 2012 at my office, and a 2008 in each vehicle and in the trailer. 

The book is really valuable because it gives you the name of the material, the potential hazards including to your health, and fire or explosion.  It tells you what type of protective clothing you need if you are cleaning it up and also distance and direction for evacuation, whether from spill or fire.  The book provides you with information on how to put out the fire and what to do if it spills or leaks.  Lastly it provides first aid directions if you breathe it or touch in.

Today I took a few notes that I thought were important from a preppers point of view.  Many of us want to buy barrels.  I know I do.  Right now I'm using heavy duty Rubbermaid trashcans and also metal trash cans.  Last weekend and GI Jim's expo he had barrels.  They were only $30, which is a great price for the barrel, lid, and ring.  I was reading the markings and labels on the barrels since they were used.  (Markings are the stickers that have the written descriptions, Labels are the pictures and numbers) Two markings said peaches (which I thought was odd to have peaches in a 55 gallon barrel).  The others didn't say what was in them.  During the class we learned of three grades of barrel when used for waste products.  Grade III was for general use and cost the company $42, grade II was for universal waste, and grade I was for hazardous waste.  This barrel cost $165!  If I want to store grain in the barrel I only need grade III. 

Do I believe the markings on the barrels at GI Jim's?  Jim isn't adding any labels or markings; the barrels have those on them.  Look at the other markings and labels on the barrels.  That can help define what was in them.  I certainly wouldn't want anything hazardous to have been in them before they come into my possession.  Another trick? Look to see if the letters UN (with the U on top of the N) are in a circle.  If so, then it means hazardous grade and more than likely held something hazardous.  Same goes with boxes if you buy or are given used corrugated boxes.  Look for the UN.

Another topic of discussion was lithium batteries.  You know they are in just about everything nowadays.  They are in kids toys and much of my electronic gear.  The lithium battery is replacing a lot of AA and AAA batteries.  They are a huge problem!  Since both the positive and negative poles are on the same side of the battery it is easy to accidentally catch things on fire - like your pocket!  Don't get these batteries wet.  The corrosive material easily comes out when wet.  It will corrode whatever it touches.  These things are dangerous around children.  Kids are swallowing them and the corrosive materials will ooze throughout your body and eat everything in its path, including your organs. 

How about that shootout in Las Vegas?  The one person in the Range Rover shot the guy in the Maserati.  The Maserati then ran into the taxi which exploded, killing three people.  The taxi was fueled by propane.  The investigation is still trying to figure out if a stray bullet exploded the tank or if the explosion was actually caused by the Maserati hitting it. 

Finally, a little odd information... the cereal Kix, which is supposed to be really good for you, has TSP in it!  Yes, trisodium phosphate.  The stuff that you use to clean your floors and walls is in the cereal.  I'm not sure why it's there.  Makes me not want to keep Kix in our diet.

That's about all for tonight!



  1. Too funny!! I keep my old hazmat book in my truck, too! If the truck in front of me on the interstate with the placards crashes or is leaking something, I darn sure want to know what it is!! I've seen a lot of poorly marked trucks lately too -- especially the ones with the obvious compressed gas cylinders!

  2. Been checking your blog everyday. Miss hearing from you. hope all is well.