The TUIS emergency response system
According to the German Federal Statistical Office, 130 accidents resulting in personal injury and involving a dangerous goods vehicle occurred on German roads in 2016. In four of these cases, the dangerous goods were leaked/released. Many more accidents in which goods are leaked/ released occur during loading and unloading operations as a result of problems with securing the loads or in transshipment warehouses. Given the huge volumes of dangerous goods being transported, however, these figures are considered low. The regulations relating to dangerous goods are having a positive impact here.
If an accident does occur, however, the rescue forces rushing to provide help can quickly find themselves at their limits. What hazards arise when goods are leaked/released? What risks does the mixing of leaked substances potentially pose? How can fuel be removed from vehicles involved in an accident / how can liquids be pumped out of vehicles involved in an accident prior to recovery?
To assist helpers quickly and efficiently in such cases, the chemicals industry has set up an emergency response system. In Europe, this is the ICE system of the European chemical association Cefic. ICE stands for “Intervention in Chemical Transport Emergencies” and operates under the umbrella of the international “Responsible Care” program. The transport accident information and emergency response system (TUIS) established by the chemicals industry takes on this role in Germany and Austria. Around 130 companies are affiliated in Germany and around 50 companies are affiliated in Austria. With their fire brigades and additional specialists, an appropriate contact person is available around the clock. As part of post-accident support measures, three escalation levels have been defined. Level 1 entails TUIS specialists providing the head of operations or head of the division with advice on the phone. Level 2 entails a specialist advisor coming to the site of deployment to give advice and clarify the next steps to take. Level 3 entails helping the fire brigade directly at the scene of the accident by providing emergency personnel and resources (special vehicles, equipment, collecting vessels, special extinguishing devices etc.). In Germany alone, the services of TUIS teams are called upon around 1,000 times each year on average.