Understanding Impacts of California Wildfires on Residents, Emergency Responders and Remediation Workers with Advanced Sampling Methods and Analysis

Written By:  Hamid Arabzadeh, CIH and Robert E. Sheriff, MS, CIH, SCP, President

November 6, 2018

 

Exposure Assessment – Industrial Hygiene IH Monitoring Plan

  • Scope based on Impact Assessment
  • Identify Risks to Measure
  • Select Substances and Routes of Exposure of Concern
  • Select Monitoring Methods for all identified risks
  • Develop Logistics Plan for locations as needed

-Equipment

-Competent Personnel

-Sampling Media

-Safety for IH sampling personnel

  • Identify laboratory and chain-of-custody procedures
  • Establish reporting methodology to stakeholders

-Fire Departments

-Other Public Sector

-Private Sector and Public

-What data will be available when, for which stakeholders

  • Identify gaps

-Methods

-Logistics

-Reporting methodology

  • Develop continuous improvement model for gaps

  


Sampling Methods

Chemicals of Concern

  • PAHs.
  • PCBs.
  • HCN
  • CO.
  • Unusual combustion products

-Flame retardants, pesticides, unknown chemicals in buildings, sheds.

  • Commercial properties

-Hazmat lists provided to local fire services.

Media of Concern

  • Air samples.
  • Water samples.
  • Bulk Samples, ash, soot, char, unknowns.

Analytical Methods

  • Accurate
  • Validated
  • Repeatable
  • Reliable in the field

 


Presentation Concepts

  •  Understanding the Impacts of Wildfires on

-Public at large

-Residents

-Emergency Services and Firefighters

-Remediation workers

  • Exposure Assessment – IH Monitoring Plan
  • Sampling Methods-Portable, Direct Reading, Remote sensing 
  • Analytical Methods

-Valid/Accurate

-Repeatable/Precise

-Reliable

-Suitable for extreme, remote environments

  • Remediation Protocol

-Cost effective

-Safe for workers

  • Site Safety Plan

Impacts of Wildfire

 Public

  • During the emergency, evacuation and safe shelter.
  • Post-emergency, returning to residence exposures.

Residents

  • During evacuation.
  • Returning to homes and businesses.
  • Recovery and Business Continuity.

Emergency Services and Firefighters

  • Safety during emergency.
  • Exposures during emergency: heat, air, safety hazards.
  • Exposures after fire.

Remediation Workers

  • Exposures to residues: solids, air and liquid.
  • Safety hazards.

 


Site Specific Health and Safety Plan (HASP)

  • Scope Coordinated with Operations Chief.
  • Identify Personnel on Scene and Operations Plan Tasks.
  • Identify Substances and Routes of Exposure of Concern.
  • Select Immediate Monitoring Methods for all identified risks based on immediate technical resources and safety needs.
  • Develop Logistics Plan based on immediate resources and needs.

-Monitoring Equipment

-Competent Personnel

-Sampling Media

-Safety for IH sampling personnel

 


Site IH Safety Plan 

  • Identify Personal Protective Equipment needs based on hazard assessment.
  • Air, supplied air, other air purifying equipment.
  • Head, hands, feet, eyes.
  • Heat Stress Protection Plan.
  • Identify teams for entry into hot zones.
  • Develop exit and hazmat decontamination plans.
  • Develop rescue plans.
  • Identify gaps.

-Methods

-Logistics

-Reporting methodology

  • Develop continuous improvement model for gaps.

 


 

Summary 

  • Wildfires present significant hazards based on chemical exposure to multiple populations and through multiple media.
  •  The chemistry of wildfire hazards is not a mature science and there are gaps being filled right now.
  •  Chemical hazards extend beyond immediate concerns of firefighters to the public and remediation workers.
  •  Industrial Hygiene Science for Recognition, Analysis and Control will be a significant factor in the future success in preventing wildfire chemical and related risks from causing significant injury to all stakeholders.

 

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