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by the NFCC

Control measure

Safe system of work: Ammonium nitrate fertiliser

TRAINING SPECIFICATION

Knowledge and understanding

Control measure element Learning outcome

Pre-planning and familiarisation

Understand:

  • Where ammonium nitrate fertiliser may be found
  • Which regulations relate to the storage or transport of ammonium nitrate fertiliser
  • When the fire and rescue service needs to be notified about the storage of ammonium nitrate fertiliser
  • The benefits of joint on-site training where ammonium nitrate fertiliser is stored

Information gathering

Understand:

  • The sources of information about the ammonium nitrate fertiliser stored
  • The need to estimate the volume of ammonium nitrate fertiliser:
    • In total
    • Per stack
  • How to interpret the labels showing the percentage of nitrogen in the fertiliser
  • That it may be possible to use closed-circuit television (CCTV) or drones classified as a type of unmanned aircraft system by the Civil Aviation Authority) to support information gathering, rather than allowing personnel to enter the ammonium nitrate fertiliser storage area
  • The need to relay the information about the ammonium nitrate to a hazardous materials adviser or other specialist adviser as soon as possible

Evacuation

Understand:

  • The need for the evacuation distance for the presence of ammonium nitrate fertiliser to be determined by a hazardous materials adviser or other specialist adviser
  • The need to apply interim estimates for evacuation distances for ammonium nitrate fertiliser
  • That oxidisers, such as ammonium nitrate, can cause the growth phase of a fire to accelerate rapidly compared to fires involving ordinary combustibles
  • That if there is ammonium nitrate present that could become involved in a fire, evacuation needs to be carried out sooner and faster than may be needed for an ordinary combustible fire
  • That members of the public outside the evacuation area for ammonium nitrate will need to be informed, and may need to be advised to shelter in place and keep doors and windows closed

Cordons

Understand:

  • The need for the cordon distance for the presence of ammonium nitrate fertiliser to be determined by a hazardous materials adviser or other specialist adviser
  • That cordon distances will be more accurate if based on the volume of the fertiliser and its percentage of nitrogen
  • The need to apply interim estimates for cordons for ammonium nitrate fertiliser
  • That personnel and other emergency responders should not enter the ammonium nitrate hazard area, unless there is a threat to life or to prevent escalation of the incident
  • The need to carry out a risk assessment before anybody is allowed to enter the ammonium nitrate hazard area
  • That the cordon distance may need to be extended if there are any signs of the fertiliser decomposing, or if a fire may involve the fertiliser
  • That sparks, open flames and other ignition sources, such as smoking or vaping, should not be introduced into the ammonium nitrate hazard area

Initial response

Understand:

  • That a fire involving ammonium nitrate may not result in an explosion if it can be successfully extinguished before the ammonium nitrate decomposes
  • The actions that can be taken to try and prevent the ammonium nitrate from decomposing
  • That personnel should be withdrawn to a safe distance if the fire:
    • Is assessed to be out of control
    • Reaches the ammonium nitrate storage area as this may result in the fertiliser becoming molten
  • That it may be necessary to only fight the fire defensively and remotely
  • That in order to prevent the incident escalating, consideration should be given to
    • Preventing ammonium nitrate fertiliser from coming into contact with incompatible materials
    • Creating fuel breaks between the ammonium nitrate fertiliser and other combustible materials, such as gas cylinders, hay, straw or grain

Environmental and health considerations

Understand:

  • That steps will need to be taken to protect the environment from:
    • Ammonium nitrate entering drains or the water system in its molten form
    • Polluted water run-off from extinguishing a fire involving ammonium nitrate, or cooling the fertiliser to control its decomposition
  • That personnel should be briefed about the release of toxic nitrogen oxides that result from the decomposition of ammonium nitrate
  • That it may be appropriate to use gas monitoring equipment to detect toxic nitrogen oxides
  • That breathing apparatus should be used if there may be toxic gases from the decomposing ammonium nitrate
  • That immediate medical assistance will be required for anyone who may have inhaled the fumes emitted from ammonium nitrate, even if they do not appear to be suffering any effects

Suspected illegal activity

Understand:

  • That if there are any signs of illegal activity involving ammonium nitrate:
    • Consideration should be given to withdrawing personnel from the hazard area
    • The police should be notified

Practical application

Control measure element Learning outcome

Gather information about the ammonium nitrate fertiliser and provide this to a hazardous materials adviser or specialist adviser as soon as possible

Demonstrate the ability to:

  • Gather information about the ammonium nitrate fertiliser stored
  • Estimate the volume of ammonium nitrate fertiliser:
    • In total
    • Per stack
  • Interpret the labels showing the percentage of nitrogen in the fertiliser
  • Appropriate use closed-circuit television (CCTV) or drones (classified as a type of unmanned aircraft system by the Civil Aviation Authority) to support information gathering, rather than allowing personnel to enter the ammonium nitrate fertiliser storage area
  • Relay information about the ammonium nitrate to a hazardous materials adviser or other specialist adviser as soon as possible

Carry out appropriate evacuation of members of the public from the area containing ammonium nitrate fertiliser

Demonstrate the ability to:

  • Request evacuation distances for ammonium nitrate fertiliser to be determined by a hazardous materials adviser or other specialist adviser
  • Apply interim estimates for evacuation distances for ammonium nitrate fertiliser
  • Be prepared to carry out evacuation for a fire involving ammonium nitrate fertiliser sooner and faster than may be needed for an ordinary combustible fire
  • Inform members of the public outside the evacuation area about the incident involving ammonium nitrate fertiliser
  • Advise members of the public to shelter in place and keep doors and windows closed due to an incident involving ammonium nitrate fertiliser

Inform members of the public outside the evacuation area for ammonium nitrate and, if appropriate, advise them to shelter in place and keep doors and windows closed

Demonstrate the ability to:

  • Inform members of the public outside the evacuation area for ammonium nitrate
  • Advise members of the public outside the evacuation area for ammonium nitrate to shelter in place and keep doors and windows closed if required

Establish and maintain an interim cordon based on the volume of ammonium nitrate fertiliser

Demonstrate the ability to:

  • Request cordon distances for ammonium nitrate fertiliser to be determined by a hazardous materials adviser or other specialist adviser
  • Establish and maintain an interim cordon based on the volume of ammonium nitrate fertiliser
  • Carry out a risk assessment before anybody is allowed to enter the ammonium nitrate hazard area