Accent on off-site disaster management

21 February 2007

Special Correspondent

Workshop on “Off-site Emergency Mock Drill” held

CUDDALORE: The industrial clusters located at Tuticorin, Ranipet, Mettur, Neyveli, Cuddalore and Manali have been identified as “hotspots” where the disaster management plans ought to be put in place. These places should be prepared to tackle any off-site exigencies, both anticipated and the improbable, according to the speakers at the workshop on “Off-site Emergency Mock Drill” organised by the Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories, V. Navaneethakrishnan, here on Tuesday.


Giving a power-point presentation, D. Vasudevan, Inspector of Factories (Retired), Chennai, said disaster management should address both on-site and off-site contingencies. The industries were fairly equipped to take care of the on-site emergencies by providing for preventive measures and safety gadgets.


If any industrial accident affected the people outside the unit, it was deemed as off-site emergency and, therefore, it ought to be dealt with jointly by the industries, the Government and the public. Of the six clusters, Manlai had already set up the off-site mechanism. In the event of a mishap there might be a flurry of activities with every one wanting to do every thing, thus resulting in chaos and confusion.


Chain reaction


Key personnel must be identified and specific roles assigned to them to handle the situation in an orderly fashion. Mr. Vasudevan noted that in the Cuddalore SIPCOT Industrial Estate, there were 25 units dealing with a variety of chemicals, including toxic substances such as ammonia and hydrogen chloride, which had the potential to disperse pollution and cause explosion.


Thus, a mishap in one unit might trigger a chain reaction. Hence, the off-site preparedness should make provision for such improbables too. Therefore, it had become imperative for the crisis management groups at the local, district and State-levels to conduct on-site mock drills annually and off-site mock drill once in six months, and in case of chemical units every quarter. Such exercises should be documented for any course correction, if necessary. For effective crisis management the industrial units should maintain the “material safety data sheets” to keep tab on the size of the inventory and physical properties of the chemicals.


District Revenue Officer Hastings Hope, Revenue Divisional Officer Brinda Devi, SIPCOT Industrial Association representatives and officials participated.

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Accent on off-site disaster management
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