Anhydrous ammonia experts might be coming to your town soon. Communities in which anhydrous ammonia is manufactured, stored, shipped, transported or used in high volumes are part of a U.S. tour this year by a voluntary group.

TransCaer, a national outreach effort based in Washington, focuses on assisting communities to prepare for and respond to possible hazardous materials incidents. This year's emphasis is on anhydrous ammonia, used in many industrial refrigeration applications and other manufacturing uses, among others. Emergency responders require specific knowledge and skills to protect the public and safely mitigate a hazardous incident.

The 2011 Nationwide Anhydrous Ammonia Tour is a hands-on training event about anhydrous ammonia's properties, chemical-release response recommendations and chemical-transport equipment. The training is free.

The tour's safety training topics include:
  • Transportation of ammonia (modes, routes and volume identifiers).
  • Types of transport equipment (nurse tanks, tank trucks and rail tank cars).
  • Hands-on training with transport equipment (valves, gauges, fittings and response measures).
  • First aid for ammonia releases and who to call for help.
The program was developed by a committee of personnel with expertise in dealing with anhydrous ammonia and spill-response issues. The curriculum covers all the critical aspects of ammonia-handling training listed below.

Ammonia Properties
  • The physical and chemical properties of anhydrous ammonia.
  • Uses of anhydrous ammonia.
  • Basic health effects and initial first aid for treating exposures.
Ammonia Transports and Nurse Tanks and Ammonia Rail Cars
  • Construction, configurations and safety devices.
  • Markings, labels, placards and shipping documents.
  • Hands-on review and examination of on-site transport containers.
  • Emergency response considerations.
Ammonia Response Issues
  • Defensive and offensive approaches to ammonia incidents.
  • Types of ammonia releases that could be encountered.
  • Release characteristics affected by environmental conditions.
  • Emergency contacts.
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