The laws intended to safeguard our environment prescribe only indirectly that those provisions related to the use of the environment should be respected also during disaster recovery.
ISO 14001 sets out the criteria for an environmental management system. It does not state requirements for environmental performance, but maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system. It can be used by any organization that wants to improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and drive down costs. Using ISO 14001 can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved.
ISO 14001 can also be integrated with other management functions and assists companies in meeting their environmental and economic goals.
The standard can be applied to a variety of levels in the business, from organizational level, right down to the product and service level (RMIT university). Rather than focusing on exact measures and goals of environmental performance, the standard highlights what an organization needs to do to meet these goals (IISD 2010).
I suggest the introduction of the Environmentally Aware Management System (ISO 14001) in the area of disaster recovery, because this would guarantee the extensive application of environmentally safe procedures.
I will present a case study to introduce a method of creating effective, environmentally safe fire fighting technology on a hydrocarbon storage site in extreme circumstances (lack of water, lack of energy supply and human resources, even at extremely low ambient temperature).
Adverse impacts on the safety of our environment can be divided into two groups:
- Impacts caused by phenomena of nature: geological, meteorological impacts and impacts from space. These impacts cannot be avoided but we can be prepared for by taking effective organizational and technical preventive action in order to alleviate the resulting damage.
- Consequences of human activity: deliberate destruction of flora and fauna (plants, animals and human beings), intervention of geodetic scale into nature (altering of water courses, delivery lines), operations with chemical and radioactive substances (extraction, production, transport and use).
The use of nuclear weapons is the most serious environmental impact artificially caused by man. It can be prevented by political and military means, but once it has occurred, the impact of events can only be marginally reduced.
The consequence of industrial fire disasters is the second largest impact caused by human actions.
Environmental impacts due to combustion and the use of extinguishing agents can be successfully mitigated by selecting the appropriate extinguishing agent and technology.
The primary environmental impact is caused by the fire itself. Not only is there the value of the material destroyed by the fire, but the condition of our common asset, the environment, also deteriorates. The resulting combustion products are often extremely harmful to health. The burning of fossil fuels changes the composition of the atmosphere; carbon stored under the ground for millions of years now re-enters the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide, causing the Greenhouse Effect.
The secondary environmental impact is caused by the extinguishing agents getting into the environment.
Excessive use of water may cause water damage, while the use of extinguishing agents of artificial origin may pollute the environment. The extent of the pollution, in other words, the secondary environmental impact largely depends on the quality of the used extinguishing agent and its application technology, because the volume of the material required for extinguishing a particular fire is determined by these two factors.
Classification of extinguishing agents
Extinguishing agents of natural origin
Water (direct jet, spray, mist)
Mixtures of gas extracted from the atmosphere (IG541, INERGEN, ARGONITE, ARGOTEC, etc.)
Exploited gases (CO2)
Extinguishing agents of artificial origin
Extinguishing powders (BC, ABC, D)
Aqueous solutions (foam solutions, P, FP, AFFF, AR)
Halogenated extinguishing gases of zero ODP (FM-200, FE-125, TRIIODIDE, NAF
S 125, NOVEC1230, etc.)
Successful prevention gives the highest level of environmental safety. The inertization of confined spaces serves as an example in the field of fire protection.
We can lessen the effect on the environment in the event of an incident by applying the Best Available Techniques.
to be continued…