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Accidents Involving Dangerous Substances


If there is a traffic accident involving dangerous substances the ADR-Certified driver will be the person most qualified to deal with the situation until the arrival of the emergency services. Two of the most likely possible scenarios are fire and the release of hazardous substances.

There are three ingredients for fire:
Ignition produced by heat from sparks, cigarettes, overheated tyres & brakes, static electrical charge, faulty wiring and naked flames.

All fires are extinguished by removing one of the three elements listed above.
All ADR vehicles in the UK must be equipped with one extinguisher of at least 2kg dry powder for cab fires and one extinguisher of at least 6kg dry powder suitable for dealing with fires in the load.

Dealing with Fire
1. Remember your own safety.
2. React quickly and logically.
3. Assess the situation. Tackle the fire only if it is safe to do so.
4. Remember the 3 elements of fire. Try to remove one from the equation.
5. Never fight a fire involving aerosols, cylinders etc. as they may explode.
6. Always move people away from the immediate area

Preventing Fire
1. Check your vehicle regularly. Poor maintenance or minor-appearing defects may cause a fire.
2. Keep your vehicle rubbish-free.
3. Remove all sources of ignition such as lighters, matches etc.
4. Follow operating procedures.
5. Avoid loading flammables and ‘oxygen providers’ (organic peroxides, oxidising agents etc.) in the same load.

Release of Dangerous Substances
If, under any circumstances, the materials that you are carrying are released, always follow this procedure:
1. Call the emergency services as soon as is possible, giving detail of your load, the location etc. If possible, ask someone else to do this so that you can remain at the scene.
2. Try to help anyone who is injured or in immediate danger.

If possible, also take the following actions: –
1. Move the vehicle to a place where the danger can be lessened, but only if it is safe to do so.
2. Stop the engine.
3. Remove the Information (In Writing) from the vehicle’s cab in order to give both yourself and the emergency services useful advice.
4. If safe to do so, turn off the battery-isolating switch (if fitted).
5. Keep people away.
6. Put on protective clothing.
7. Keep all possible sources of ignition away from the scene of the accident – other vehicles etc. Stop people smoking.
8. Put out a warning triangle behind the spillage or the vehicle.
9. Try to contain the spillage.

Place yourself in danger. Protective equipment is not designed for use over long periods but to allow you to leave the danger area.
Tackle a large fire with a cab-extinguisher.
Enter a confined space if there is even the smallest possibility of a gas-build up.

On The Emergency Services Arrival -
1. Show them the Information-In-Writing
2. Tell them what you have already done.
3. Tell them about anyone else involved who may need their help.
4. Tell the client as soon as possible
5. Tell your Driver Hire office as soon as possible

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