Fire at Aspropyrgos distillery in 1989
If you reside or are often found in an area with technological hazards there are two choices: staying/ taking shelter in a closed space or evacuation. The competent authorities will decide as to the appropriate solution.
For this reason it is important to
- Follow the instructions given by the competent authorities.
- Study, become familiar and follow the below general instructions, until specific instructions are given in the case of an accident.
- Have available in the same space or make provisions so that is easy to bring together the following quickly:
- Adhesive duct tape.
- Sheets of plastic (cut in appropriate size) and plastic rubbish bags.
- Towels and cloths.
- Battery radio (with the batteries not inside the radio but beside the radio, otherwise they should often be checked).
- Battery torch (with the batteries not inside the torch but beside the torch, otherwise they should often be checked).
- New batteries.
- Bottled water in small quantities.
- Packed up food in small quantities.
- First aid kit.
- Necessary medicine for the family members.
- Choose a room that offers the greatest possible protection. Factors to be taken into account: room in the center of the house, with the minimum number of airtight doors and windows, communicating with the bathroom or the WC, windows not to face the side of the danger, without any openings for circulation of air from the environment (fireplaces, air-conditioning systems, etc) and if the house has more than one floors, choose a room on the last floor.
- Drive with great care when near industrial plants or near vehicles transporting dangerous material.
- After reading the instructions discuss them with all family members.
DURING THE ACCIDENT
Stay or take shelter in an enclosed area
- Your aim is to protect your health from dangerous chemicals that could enter your home and to protect yourself against possible explosions (primary and secondary fragments) and exposure to thermal radiation.
If in your car
- Close and keep the windows closed, turn off the air conditioning and the ventilators.
- Look for a building where you can take refuge and stop your car carefully. Otherwise stay in the car.
- Have the radio on, listen to the announcements and follow the instructions given by the authorities
If your are indoors and there’s available time
- Stay calm.
- Keep the radio and/or the TV on, watch the announcements and follow the instructions of the Authorities.
- Close all the windows and the outside and inner doors of your home without locking them.
- Do not use the elevator.
- Turn off all the air conditioning devices either they belong to the central system or not, and turn off ventilators and fans.
- Cover the cracks (all four sides) in doors and windows using adhesive duct tape. Damp towels or blankets can also be used.
- Cover the lock with the tape as well as door handle.
- Cover tightly the entry of fireplace using adhesive duct plate and plastic sheets, all heating systems, ventilation systems’ intakes, the doors and the windows.
- Do not use bottles of liquid gas.
- Close the inner doors of your home.
- Go to the chosen room.
- Stay away from the windows.
- Do not use the phone (land line or mobile).
- If, despite all actions taken, dangerous gases get in the building, roll up a towel or a cloth several times, cover your mouth and nose and draw small breaths.
In case of evacuation order by the Authorities
- Stay calm.
- Follow the advised escape routes.
- Have the radio on, listen to the announcements and follow the instructions given by the authorities.
- If you have enough time, close the doors, the windows and turn off the air conditioning devices of your home to limit its pollution.
If outdoors and close to the place of accident
- Stay calm, try to protect primarily yourself.
- Offer your help to those in need only if you know how you must act.
- Move away from the place of the accident as soon as possible.
- Do not walk or touch unnecessarily places having leakage of chemicals.
- Do not smoke.
- Try to cover your body as much as possible.
- “Filter” the air you breathe from dangerous gases, dust or droplets by rolling up a towel or a cloth and covering your mouth and nose and draw small breaths.
Overturned LPG tanker in residential area of Ilioupolis in 1991. The citizens did not maintain safe distances despite the recommendations of Traffic Police.
If in another building
- Stay calm.
- Contribute to the implementation of the building emergency plan.
If you are
- Downwind the place of the accident (place B, below) move away vertically to the direction of the wind.
- Upwind the place of accident (place A, below) move away against the direction of the wind or the flow of waters.
- In general, move to higher areas of the region since many toxic substances are heavier than the air.
The safety distance from the place of the accident depends on many factors (quantity and type of the chemical substance, day or night, weather conditions, etc). During the initial stages of an accident the following distances could be considered safe:
- 800 meters (in case of leakage)
- 1600 meters (in case of fire or explosion)
In special cases (great quantity, extremely dangerous chemical substance, adverse weather conditions) safe distances may be much greater.
If you notice an accident first move to a safe distance and then call one of the following:
European Emergency Call Number 112
Fire Service 199
Hellenic Police 100
National Center of Emergency Care (EKAB) 166
- Give accurate details (place, your distance from the place of accident, your name, a phone number, etc) and describe the event. You should notice:
- if there are any victims, estimate the number of persons (number of dead, injured) the symptoms they present (dizziness, headache, irritation of the eyes, etc).
- the color of the leaked smoke or liquid.
- any odors or strange sounds.
- the cloud characteristics, if present, (direction, going down or up etc) or the liquid characteristics.
- if there is any information/ labels on the packing, the containers (barrels, cans and palettes) or on the tanker (company name etc).
In particular, notice the existence of
Orange plates (informing on the chemical substance transported) and try to remember the two numbers (one two-digit/ three-digit and one four-digit) the so–called UN numbers e.g.
- Danger plates in rhombus, colored (red, yellow, blue, etc), carrying some sign (explosion of bomb, black or white flame, skull and crossbones, etc) and a number in the lower corner (1.1, 3, 4 etc) e.g.
- Places in the vicinity of the accident (installations, buildings, school, nursery school, Open Care Centers for Seniors (KAPI), public transport station, squares, rivers, lakes, manholes, etc)
- Do not hang up unless the operator tells you to do so. Further information might be needed.
If exposed to a chemical substance
- Call for medical assistance immediately
Poison Control Center:210 7793777
National Center of Emergency Care (EKAB): 166
General instructions for every case of exposure to a dangerous chemical substance (poisoning, chemical burn) cannot be given. Nevertheless if you take some appropriate steps you can reduce the possibility of pollution and its consequences.
- If a dangerous substance comes in contact with your eyes it is important that you act IMMEDIATELY. Any delay increases the possibility of serious harm. Unless informed that water can’t be used for the particular chemical substance, you should:
- Rinse out your hands quickly
- Remove contact lenses
- Rinse out each eye without much pressure using warm water moving from the nose to the exterior part of the eye for at least 15 minutes. Continue until you feel relief from the discomfort.
- Ask for medical treatment
- If you have sound suspicions that you have been exposed to a dangerous substance:
- Take off any clothing you think may be contaminated immediately
- Take them off in a way not to come in contact with your face. If this is not possible tear them or cut off with scissors
- Put the clothing in plastic bags or in a bin and close it firmly
- Wash yourself using water
- Wait for medical assistance