Incident Management

An incident management system should be designed, implemented, and practiced for any facility or installation utilizing hydrogen. The incident management system should identify an on-site person and back up who will initially lead any response. The leader will usually take initial steps as outlined below and then turn over control to first responders. The design of the system is highly dependent on the nature of the system, the knowledge of the onsite personnel, and the magnitude of the potential hazard.

Onsite personnel might have some or all the following duties in an emergency:

  • If it is safe to do so, isolate the flow of any hazardous materials
  • Evacuate the facility and remain at a safe distance assisting others as needed
  • Warn others of the adverse conditions
  • Call for emergency response
  • Be available to provide relevant information to emergency responders regarding the nature of the emergency, the location of hazardous materials, etc.

Once first responders arrive, the senior emergency response official will become the individual in charge of a site-specific incident. All emergency responders and their communications will be coordinated through the individual in charge, assisted by the senior official present for each employer of onsite personnel.

Where possible, first responders should participate in the development of the incident management plan and participate in drills to test the plan. Hydrogen safety training should be made available to any first responders who may be in a position to respond to an incident at a hydrogen facility.

Training for first responders arriving at a hydrogen incident may include the following actions:

  • Establish incident command and control areas.
  • Keep unauthorized personnel away.
  • Stay upwind.
  • Listen for venting gas.
  • Watch for thermal waves that would signal hydrogen flames.
  • Eliminate ignition sources.
  • Do not touch or walk through product.
  • Allow hydrogen-fed fire to burn if safe to do so. Protect adjacent surfaces. Do not spray water into a pressure vent.