Hazardous Material Spills

Hazardous Materials

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See the Emergency Management BC weekly incident summaries.

Need to report a hazardous spill in BC?
Call the Emergency Management BC Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456 (24 hours)

Can you smell gas (smells like rotten eggs) or hear the hiss of escaping gas? Report it immediately to Fortis BC at 1-800-663-9911 (24 hours)

 For marine oil spill reporting on the Pacific West Coast (for California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia) call 1-800-OILS-911.

In Pitt Meadows, like many communities today, dangerous goods are being moved through and within our community by rail and road every day. The rail line that runs the length of Pitt Meadows accommodates both passenger and freight traffic. The Golden Ears Bridge, Pitt River Bridge and local highways accommodate transportation of goods by road.

Hazardous materials and gases, if released or misused, can pose a threat to the environment or to the health of residents. Residential homes use natural gas, and many chemicals are used in industry, agriculture, medicine, research and consumer goods. Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons, and radioactive materials.

Most hazardous spills are small and are handled by emergency first responders with little or no risk to the public; however, in the event of a larger hazardous material emergency, comprehensive plans are in place to protect residents, including an evacuation plan.
What You Can Do
If you see a spill or leak:

  • Report it immediately by calling 911 or the Provincial Emergency Program's Emergency Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456
  • Do not touch or walk through spilled material
  • Stop the leak if you can without risk
  • Do not direct water at a spill or source of a leak
  • Ventilate the area

If you smell gas or hear the flow of escaping gas, follow these steps immediately:

· Don't smoke, light matches, operate electrical switches, use either cell phones, telephones or create any other sources of ignition

· Leave the building immediately, leaving the door open and any windows that may already be open

· Turn the gas off at the meter, if you know how.

· Get to a nearby phone (not within the building) and call the Fortis BC 24-hour emergency line at 1-800-663-9911, 911, or the Pitt Meadows Fire Rescue Service at 604-465-2401.

If you are reporting a spill, you should be prepared to provide the dispatcher the following information, if possible:

  • your name and contact phone number;
  • name and telephone number of the person who caused the spill;
  • location and time of the spill;
  • type and quantity of the substance spilled;
  • cause and effect of the spill;
  • details of action taken or proposed; description of the spill location and surrounding area;
  • names of agencies on scene, and
  • names of other persons or agencies advised concerning the spill.

If someone is exposed to a hazardous material, do not try to care for them without instructions from trained personnel who are familiar with the substance involved. If you don't know what the material is, wait until the substance has been identified and authorities indicate it is safe to go near victims. Once trained professionals have declared it safe to enter, you should call the BC Poison Control 24 hour hotline at 1-800-567-8911.

What will happen if there is a hazardous material emergency
Listen to local radio or television stations for detailed information and instructions. Follow the instructions carefully. You should stay away from the area to minimize the risk of contamination. Remember that some toxic chemicals are odorless.
Know what to do in the event of an evacuation. If you are evacuating and you have time, minimize contamination in the house by closing all windows, shutting all vents and turning off attic fans.
Remember to help your neighbours who may require special assistance - infants, elderly people and people with disabilities.
Stay upstream, uphill and upwind. In general, try to go at least one-half mile (usually 8-10 city blocks) from the danger area. Move away from the accident scene and help keep others away.

Q & A
How can I tell if my family or I have been exposed to a hazardous material?
Many hazardous materials do not have a taste or an odor. Some materials can be detected because they cause physical reactions such as watering eyes or nausea. Some hazardous materials exist beneath the surface of the ground and can be recognized by an oil or foam-like appearance.

Does CP Rail transport hazardous materials?
Roughly six percent of goods moved by Canadian Pacific are classified as dangerous goods by federal government regulations. Many everyday products contain hazardous materials, and these must be transported some way to and from manufacturers. CP moves these products in line with strict federal rules and industry guidelines, and works with municipalities and first responders to prepare emergency response plans for railway incidents. It is also a member of Responsible Care, an international chemical industry initiative which promotes the safe handling and transport of dangerous goods.

Is natural gas safe?
Yes, natural gas is a safe and reliable energy source; rigorous adherence to safety standards and a safety-first mindset ensure it remains that way. Fortis BC has an excellent safety record as a direct result of their high standards, rigorous commitment to safety and security and the diligence of their employees in carrying out their commitment to ensuring public safety.

Learn more about Fortis BC's commitment to pipeline safety here

Emergency Management BC – Hazardous Material Spills

CP Rail

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