10.2 ONGOING COMMUNICATIONS
10.3 COMMUNICATION IN CRISIS SITUATIONS
10.4 RESPONSES TO COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
10.5 HOW TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE IN TIME OF CRISIS
10.6 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS EMERGENCY RESPONSE CONTINGENCY PLAN
10.7 COLLEAGUE EXAMPLE – Saskatoon Golf and Country Club Emergency Response
People generally associate communications on environmental issues with responses to crisis
situations such as fires in pesticide storage buildings, spills, fish kills and other major problems.
Although communicating effectively when a problem arises is extremely important, maintaining
ongoing communications during normal operations, with members and even with the public, is also
important. This section outlines ongoing communications opportunities, describes methods and
offers suggestions for both ongoing and “emergency” communications in your golf course operation.
10.2 ONGOING COMMUNICATIONS
For most golf courses, ongoing communications regarding environmental issues during regular
operations should be used to:
1. Inform members of environmental protection programs which are either planned or in place.
For example, if you have implemented an IPM or Stewardship program, you should tell people
2. Provide information to members and users on the results of environmental initiatives.
For example, if you have implemented a program to reduce water consumption, you should
keep members and users informed regarding your progress.
3. Provide a vehicle for members and users to make suggestions on existing programs, and to offer
Options for communicating with members and users on an ongoing basis are as follows:
1. Develop an environmental policy for your course (see Section 3.0) and post it in the clubhouse
where everyone can see it.
2. Include an Environmental Section in your newsletter, discussing your environmental programs
and their results.
3. Have a "Suggestion Box" for environmental protection ideas. Ensure that each suggestion is
reviewed and discussed with the person who made the suggestion.
4. Include information on your environmental programs on your notice board.
5. Hold information sessions on major environmental initiatives (e.g., environmental audit, IPM
program, Stewardship program) for interested individuals.
Unless your course has come under a great deal of public scrutiny regarding environmental issues,
either through opposition during planning and construction, or as a result of problems during
operation, it is not necessary to include regular communications with the press or the general
public as a component of your communications program. However, if your course has been
controversial, it is probably in your best interest to keep everyone informed regarding what you are
doing, and how your environmental protection programs are working out. Options for doing this are
1. Hold regular Open Houses (e.g., once per year) to discuss the environmental protection
programs which you have implemented. In addition to advertising these events in the
community, make sure that you invite those people who have raised concerns or voiced
opposition. It is important to address all of the tough questions.
2. Prepare a newsletter addressing the environmental protection programs in place on your golf
course, and their results, and distribute throughout the community. Again, make sure that all
individuals who have voiced concerns get a copy.
3. Schedule visits with individuals who have raised concerns. These visits can be held either on
the course (to review the specific issues), or in the individuals' homes.
4. Invite a science class from a local school to your course for an afternoon to show them how
you deal with environmental issues.
In all communications with the public, it is essential that you are honest and straightforward. If you
don't know the answer to a question, say so and offer to find out the answer. Similarly, be
approachable and be yourself. Don't pretend to be the world’s leading authority on environmental
issues. Use plain and simple language.
10.3 COMMUNICATIONS IN CRISIS SITUATIONS
A crisis has been defined as "an event that could cause permanent change for your
organization" (GCSAA, 1996). Specifically, crises involve alteration or disruption to daily
operations, destruction to property, endangerment to lives, damage to the position and
reputation of the golf course in the community, media interest in the operation of the course
and/or government investigations and potential charges under environmental legislation.
Examples of crises on golf courses include:
• Fires in pesticide storage areas
• Releases of contaminants (e.g., pesticide releases; fuel or fertilizer spills) that result in fish
and/or bird kills
• Releases of contaminants which may create widespread or long-term risks to human and wildlife
health (e.g., leaking UST; long-term buildup of pesticides in the sediments of a water body
adjacent to your course).
GCSAA has published an Emergency Communications Guidebook (GCSAA, 1996) which provides
a good overview of what to do in the event of a crisis. In particular, it provides examples of
documents, which can be used to help manage a crisis (e.g., Emergency Response Contact
Sheets, checklists for evaluating potential crises, forms for gathering facts on the crisis, forms on
which to record telephone conversations, sample media releases and sample responses to
questions which often arise during crises.) Superintendents may want to review this document for
further information. It is important, however, that you develop your own plan for dealing with crisis
situations, as your actions will be highly influenced by local conditions. Before you use a prepared
response to hypothetical questions, step back and make sure that the response is applicable to
your situation. Prepared answers will generally require "tailoring" to address specific cases
No matter how effective your communications program, you are still likely to face criticism from the
public and the media and an investigation by regulatory enforcement personnel in the event of a
crisis. Don't be surprised by this. In the long-term however, an honest, organized and consistent
response to a crisis will enhance your reputation in the eyes of the public and the regulators.
The most important components of an effective crisis communication plan are Honesty,
Organization and Consistency. Dishonesty will eventually catch up to you in the event of a crisis,
and will result in long term mistrust from the public, and potentially more severe penalties from the
regulators. Therefore, tell the truth. Organization is critical in demonstrating to the public and to
regulators that you are making efforts to control and mitigate the crisis. Consistency will
demonstrate that you understand the situation, and that your methods in dealing with the crisis are
As noted above, you should develop a plan for dealing with a crisis, and for communicating with the
media and the public should a crisis occur. Components of this plan are as follows:
1. Develop a Resource File
You should prepare a file of information, which is well organized and readily available to assist you
in dealing with a crisis situation. This file will help you to respond more quickly should a crisis
occur. The file should contain the following:
• a copy of your crisis response and communications plan
• Basic information on your course
• Plans of your course and associated buildings
• MSDS sheets for chemicals used
• Map showing the location of neighbors and other significant features
• Internal notification list
• External notification list including police, fire department, environmental spill reporting agency,
potentially affected neighbors and the media
• Forms for recording telephone conversations.
2. Develop Crisis Response and Communications Plans
Write down what you should do in the event of a crisis, and how you will manage communications.
Steps to be taken should be written down in point form, and should be simple. The plan should
address all types of potential crises. See the section 10.6 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS EMERGENCY
RESPONSE CONTINGENCY PLAN for more details.
3. Practice Implementing the Plan
Other industries carry out crisis-response training that involves simulating a crisis. This procedure
is beneficial because it allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of your plan, in addition to allowing
you and your staff an opportunity to practice. Following the simulation, you should sit down and
assess what went right, and what could be improved.
4. Designate a Spokesperson
In order to provide consistent responses to inquiries from the public, the media and regulators, you
should designate a spokesperson. It is important that the spokesperson be very familiar with the golf
course, and fully aware of the specific crisis. All staff should be informed that inquiries should be
addressed by the spokesperson. See section 10.5 HOW TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE IN TIME
OF CRISIS for guidance.
5. Assess the Situation
When a problem arises, evaluate whether or not it constitutes a crisis. Use the following questions
to assist you:
• Does the situation run the risk of escalating in intensity?
• Will the situation be widely reported by the media or investigated by regulatory agencies?
• Will the situation interfere with normal course operations?
• Could the situation damage the course's reputation?
• Could the situation damage the course's financial standing?
If you answer "yes" to any of the questions, a crisis may be present. Review this with other
course administration members if you have the opportunity. See the section 10.6 HAZARDOUS
MATERIALS EMERGENCY RESPONSE CONTINGENCY PLAN for more details.
6. Take Appropriate First Actions
In the event of a crisis, take the following actions immediately:
• Provide assistance to victims wherever required and appropriate
• Take steps to minimize the impact of the situation (e.g., try to contain spills, put out fires, etc.)
• Notify those who could be in danger
• Notify local police and fire departments
• Notify provincial Environmental Pollution Response departments
• Notify course management and ownership.
7. Establish a "Command Centre" for Communications
See the section 10.6 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS EMERGENCY RESPONSE CONTINGENCY PLAN
for more details.
8. Prepare an Initial Statement for Release to the Media
The initial statement should identify the situation that has occurred, confirm that required agencies
have been notified, and outline the actions that are being taken to mitigate the problem.
See section 10.5 HOW TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE IN TIME OF CRISIS for guidance.
9. Respond to Requests from the Media and Regulators
Cooperation with the media and regulators is critical for ensuring that the correct information
is released and that adversarial relations do not develop.
10. Assess the Need for External or Expert Assistance
In developing a response to a problem, particularly in the event of a contaminant release, it may be
necessary to retain an expert to assist you with your mitigation plan. This possibility should be
11. Be Factual in Your Disclosure
Disclosures, releases and interviews should focus on the following:
• What happened and where? When did it occur?
• Are there any injuries or deaths as a result?
• What action are you taking to control impacts?
• Have hazardous substances been released into the environment? If so, what type and how
• What types of hazards exist for neighbors?
• Have emergency response agencies been notified? Which ones?
• Are operations shut down?
• Has the course been evacuated?
10.4 R E S P O N S E S TO COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Commonly asked questions by your members, the public, media and environmental groups often
focus on the effects and safety of pesticides. While you need to develop your own way of
responding to these questions based on your understanding and assessment of the risks associated
with pesticides, the following section presents some responses to typically asked questions as
recommended by the Urban Pest Management Council of Canada, RISE (Responsible Industry for
a Sound Environment) and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America:
1. Why do golf courses use pesticides?
Pest control products (instead of “Pesticides” or herbicides, insecticides and fungicides as these
tend to conjure up an image of poisonous pollution and the modern day superintendent has access
to “preferred” or “natural” pest control products) help limit damage by insects, weeds and plant
diseases, and are used selectively to protect the health of turf, trees and other vegetation on the golf
course. Their use is one component of an Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPM) that helps
ensure that we have a healthy playing surface for the game. They are not used primarily for
aesthetic purposes. The key word is healthy - without healthy turfgrass and surroundings, we will
not have a desirable place for the game.
2. What kind of products are used?
Products used are either identical or very similar to those used by homeowners in their lawns and
3. Are the products dangerous?
Clearly if the products are used incorrectly they are dangerous. After all, they are used for the
control of pests. However, if the products are handled and applied correctly, and in the right
quantities, we feel that they do not pose a risk to human and/or wildlife health. The government
regulates the introduction of pesticides into the country, as well as the storage and use of them. In
particular, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), which operates under Health
Canada, issues approvals for products and their labels (which include application procedures
among other things), and includes approved products on a registry. Therefore there is a lot of
testing which has to be done before they can be used.
4. Are there options to using pesticides?
Pesticides are only one component of an Integrated Pest Management program. Other things
which we do to control pests include physical removal of weeds, optimizing of irrigation practices,
clearing of underbrush around a problem area to allow for more air movement, use of natural,
disease-resistant species, biological controls and other cultural practices. (Review your IPM
program with the individual.) However, we have learned that the use of pesticides within our
program is critical to its success.
5. Can pesticides contaminate groundwater, streams, rivers etc.?
Research has shown that if you don't apply too much pesticide, and if you apply it at the right time
(e.g., not on a windy day, before a major rain storm, etc.) that pesticides do not leach into the
groundwater or run off into surface water. We always carry out our applications in accordance with
the manufacturer’s instructions, and so we feel that we will not create a problem.
6. How do you know that you are handling the pesticides correctly?
Our staff and contractors are all trained and have received certification from the provincial
government as licensed pesticide applicators.
7. Am I at risk playing on the course after you have sprayed it?
No. We feel, and the regulators support this, that as long as the products that we use are applied
per their label, that neither golfers nor club members face health risks. I have spent a lot of time
researching and learning about these products, and I am confident that they do not create health
risks. After all, I have to work around them all the time.
Some people may be allergic to specific products, just as they may be allergic to soaps and other
household products. Golfers with possible allergies should talk to the superintendent about the
products being used.
It is not recommended that you simply memorize the above answers. Instead, using the responses
as a basis, develop your own opinion on the issue, and formulate your own response. Other issues
to be considered in formulating your response are as follows:
• It is often beneficial to tell people about the regulatory requirements associated with golf course
operations. Show them some of the tables in this manual and explain to them what regulations
require you to do.
• In responding to questions, make sure that you first demonstrate to questioners that you
understand their concerns. Restate the question, review the issues and then present your
• Demonstrate your understanding of the question and the rationale for your response. You want to
make sure that you are perceived as being honest, well-trained and rational - after all, you are!
• Review the implications of not utilizing your procedures. This is often very useful in pesticide-
10.5 HOW TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE IN TIME OF CRISIS
In time of crisis it is important to understand the strategies behind turning a nightmare into an
opportunity. Damage control through a carefully planned and formed press release is the most
valuable tool in communicating with the press, the public and shareholders. Effective crisis
management plans require pro-active movement by an organization. Act fast, get your story out, and
show concern to minimize damage and avoid costly damage to your reputation.
Here are guidelines to keep in mind when writing your press release.
Neutralize the Negative News
A damage control press release is essential to prevent negative publicity from damaging the image of
the golf club, its brand identity, and public image. In the case of a lawsuit filed against your golf
course, issue a press release detailing information that supports your claims, and your company’s
position. In the case of a spill or other environmental emergency, issue a release both during and
after the clean up effort.
Connect with a Culture of Concern
Demonstrate a true concern for public safety. It is not uncommon for business to experience short-
term losses after a publicized emergency, causing some loss of previously loyal customers,
weakened team morale, and a tarnished brand. Maintain an image of propriety, not indifference or
hostility, towards the situation. The gravity of your language must reflect an appropriate level of
concern for your customers.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
Fabricating details or denying claims that are in fact true can possibly work against you, and it is far
harder to recover from the tarnished public image of a company that lies. Refrain from commenting on
sensitive issues that may have legal issues, wait until the waters have calmed to point blame where it
Maintain The Image Of A Good Corporate Citizen
Before releasing your damage control press release, consult your lawyer. Wording is important: a
misplaced or poorly thought phrase could be tacit acceptance of guilt or admittance of liability even if
that was not the plan. End on a high note, emphasizing other positive aspects of your business.
Companies who turn a sour situation to their benefit can win back the trust of customers affected, as
well as gain new customers.
10.6 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS EMERGENCY RESPONSE CONTINGENCY PLAN
The following is a basic strategy/guide outlining how your operations should Plan for, Respond to and
Recover from emergencies involving hazardous materials. The contingency plan will help you assess
the risk, assign the roles and responsibilities of staff and emergency assistance, and outline steps to
be followed while experiencing emergency situations.1 Be sure to review and amend according to
what will flow best during emergency situations at your facility.
Turf Department Management Receives Notice of an Incident
1. Information is collected by Superintendent, or in case of absent the Assistant Superintendent, using
the Hazardous Material Incident Report Form in Figure 10.1.
2. Superintendent calls the appropriate emergency response agencies.
3. The Emergency Response Team (ERT) is notified by Superintendent. The ERT consists of
representatives from Security Patrol, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), General Manager,
Public Affairs Officer and the Turf Department. Before any response actions are taken, the ERT will
assess the information collected on the Hazardous Material Incident Report Form in Figure 10.1 and
will determine the appropriate level of response.
4. The Material Safety Data Sheets for the released materials are secured by EHS.
The Level of Response is Determined
5. A decision is made by the Emergency Response Team, in consultation with the Superintendent,
regarding the appropriate level of response.
The Plan is Activated
6. There are three levels of response depending on the magnitude of the incident and the degree of
containment of the released material:
• A level 1 response can be managed by the individuals responsible for the release.
• A level 2 and level 3 response requires assistance from external agencies and personnel.
• The plan will be activated for level 2 and 3 responses.
The three levels of response:
1. There is no perceived impact on health, property, or the environment. Containment is within the
capabilities of the department or individuals involved.
2. There is potential for an adverse impact on health, property, or the environment. Containment
is beyond the capabilities of University employees.
3. There is a severe impact on health, property, or the environment. Several buildings/areas on
campus are affected. Containment of the incident requires the assistance of multiple outside
agencies duration of the event is unpredictable; long-term implications may result.
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus – Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Plan, January 23rd, 2008.
Notifications Are Made
7. The Incident Commander (Superintendent), or designate, makes the appropriate internal
notifications. EHS and the Superintendent notify the appropriate external agencies.
8. Superintendent coordinates the evacuation of the affected area / building.
9. The Incident Command Post is established within a safe distance from the incident.
10. The Emergency Response Team conducts a risk assessment to identify the hazards and risks
involved in responding to the emergency situation.
11. First aid and assembly areas are established.
12. The Fire Department Chief assumes command once he/she arrives at the scene.
13. Necessary information is relayed to the Fire Department by the Superintendent, such as
information about the nature of the released hazardous material(s) and the number of injured persons.
14. The ERT provides assistance to the Fire Department in developing measures for assuring
personnel safety while responding to the incident.
16. After assessing the level of risk and determining that it is safe, the Fire Department will enter the
affected area to remove individuals requiring rescue and will provide first aid as required.
17. The release is contained by the Fire Department.
Clean-up & Recovery
18. Clean-up will proceed in consultation with the appropriate parties.
19. Incident/accident report is completed and persons involved in the response attend a debriefing.
Figure 10.1 Hazardous Material Incident Response Form
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus – Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Plan, January 23rd, 2008.
10.7 COLLEAGUE EXAMPLE – Saskatoon Golf and Country Club Emergency Response
1.) Reportable Quantities
If a spill occurs and the amounts stated below are exceeded, then it is mandatory to contact the Spill
Report Center at 1-800-667-7525
a) Fuel/ Oil 200L
b) Pesticides Concentrate 5KG or 5 Litres
Mix 70 Litres or more
Note: Judgment must be exercised when reporting spills lower than the stated amounts. (ie.
Spills on or near drinking water sources or other sensitive areas should be reported
regardless of the amount)
The general purpose of this plan is to provide employees with information of what to do should
an accidental spill or emergency occur at the Saskatoon Golf & Country Club which is a 36
hole golf facility located just north of Cartwright St. W. and west of Lorne Avenue. The legal
description of the property is S/W & S/E1/4 SEC 17-36-5-3 within the Municipality of
Corman Park, City of Saskatoon. Nest Page shows aerial photo of maintenance area as well
as a map of the course location.
3) Notification Procedures
Immediately contact the Spill Report Center at 1-800-667-7525
Contact if Applicable
Saskatoon City Police_________________ 975-8300
Corman Park Police__________________ 242-8808
Saskatoon Fire Department____________ 911 if emergency
RUH Emergency Dept.
Canutec (Canadian Transport Emergency Center) 613-996-6666
Saskatoon Golf & Country Club Representatives
Executive Director : Kelly Boes W931-0022
Golf Course Supt. Terry McNeilly W242-4368
4.) Person in Charge
Golf Course Superintendent Terry McNeilly
5.) Containment and Clean-Up Procedures
The Saskatoon Golf & Country Club stores a limited amount of pesticides on the property, they are
stored in the north bay of the three door shed on the west side of the maintenance yard. The list of
current pesticides stored on the property is listed below, this would be an average amount stored at
any one time:
November 8, 2005
Trade Name Active Ingredient PCPA Reg # Qty:
Aliette Fosetyl AL 24458 2kg
Ambush Tree & Garden Insect Killer Permethrin 23069 1L
Ant & Grub Killer Chlorpyrifos 18801 500g
Bug-B-Gon Diazinon 23931 800ml
Critter Ridder Oil of Black Pepper, Piperine, Capsaicin 25829 500ml
Daconil Chlorothalonil 15724 10 L
Deep Woods Off Deet 24723 1610g
Diazinon 500 E Diazinon 11889 1L
Diazinon 50 EC Diazinon 16518 3L
Diazinon Diazinon 10914 1L
Dursban Turf Chlorpyrifos 20575 1L
Gopher Ground Squirrel Bait Strychrine alkaloid 25472 4.6 kg
Heritage Azoxystrobin 26155 1 kg
Killex 2,4-D, Mecoprop, Dicamba 20981 8L
Killex 500 2,4-D, Mecoprop, Dicamba 16971 20 L
Nature Aide Liquid Cutrine Plus Copper 13249 10 gal
Primo Maxx Trinexapec-ethyl 26989 7.8 L
Ratak + Brodifacoum 16064 400g
Round Up Glyphosate 25344 5L
Skoot Thiram 13258 10 L
Subdue Maxx Metalaxyl-M & S-isomer 27055 600ml
Equipment Readily Available for Clean-up and Containment
Respirators, Spray suits, Absorbent material, plastic bins/lids for storage of contaminated absorbent
material. Unlined gloves and boots, neutralizing material (bleach, lime, washing soda), long handled
broom, shovel. All above are located closely to the pesticide storage area.
Pesticide Cleanup Procedures
When a spill occurs, regardless of the size of the spill or the amount of pesticide that has leaked, it
should be CLEANED UP as quickly and safely as possible. The affected area then must be
DECONTAMINATED immediately. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the spill, the
priorities may vary. The following guidelines are to be used to supplement label information and
information from key government agencies. They are:
- Remove all persons and animals from the spill area. Extreme caution should be exercised
in entering a contaminated area and adequate personal protective equipment should be
- Apply the general principals of first aid, such as basic life support procedures. Remove
contaminated clothing and thoroughly wash affected skin areas with soap and water.
- Isolate the spill area so that no unauthorized person, animal or vehicle is exposed or
contaminated by accidentally moving into the spill. Establish a decontamination line around
the perimeter. Anyone entering the area must be wearing adequate protective equipment.
Persons and/or vehicles leaving the spill area should be decontaminated.
- Contain the spread of the pesticide to prevent further contamination of the environment,
particularly water bodies. Stop the continued leaking of a container. Use any substance
that will soak up the pesticide to create a barrier: soil, sawdust, newspaper, vermiculite, kitty
- Contact the pesticide manufacturer or distributor to obtain appropriate information on the
cleanup and decontamination of the spill area. Technical information can also be obtained
from CANUTEC, the emergency response system for dangerous goods in Ottawa
- Call local police, fire department or ambulance if required.
- Report the spill to the Spill Report Center 1-800-667-7525
- The Spill Report Center will require the following information:
-The location (address or highway number) and time of the spill.
-The type (product name) and quantity of pesticide spilled.
-The cause and potential effects of the spill.
-A description of the spill site and the surrounding area (soil type, surface water
drainage characteristics, water table depth, proximity to dwellings, location of
underground service lines).
-Details of action taken and proposed action. This will include containment work,
details of cleanup and restoration procedures, and details of disposal including
the location and procedures.
What you can expect of the Spill Report Centre:
-Spill cleanup advice.
-A spill response team, available around the clock, will confirm the adequacy of measures taken to
clean up the spill and/or give instructions on measures to be taken.
- The spill response team may make an on-site inspection to determine if appropriate
measures are being taken during the cleanup operation, and to ensure that spilled materials
are properly cleaned up and disposed of.
- The centre will act as a liaison with other agencies that might be affected (community
officials, the provincial Emergency Measures Organization, the Department of Labor and
the federal government).
- The centre can advise of further reporting and procedures that may be required.
Cleanup of the spill area
Pump surplus liquid pesticide into drums. Small amounts of liquids should be soaked up in
sawdust, soil or other absorbent material. Dry powder or granular pesticides should be lightly
wetted or sprinkled with damp soil or sawdust. Then shovel this material into a drum. If the spill
occurred on the ground, it may be necessary to dig up the contaminated area and place the soil in
drums. Place leaky or damaged containers in drums or heavy plastic bags. Inside a building,
ventilate the area to prevent the buildup of toxic fumes.
Decontamination of the spill area
After removing the spilled pesticide, soak the contaminated area with a mixture of equal parts
bleach and water. A dike placed around the spill area will prevent the spread of the
decontamination solution. Caustic soda (lye) in water may be used instead of bleach. Then
without removing the chemicals, spread hydrated lime over the entire and leave for 1-2 hours.
After this period, shovel the material into drums. Repeat the application of bleach in water (1:1
ratio) over the entire area and allow it to stand for a further 30 minutes. Then hose down the
entire area with water and a strong detergent as a final cleanup.
CONSULT THE LABEL OR MANUFACTURER FOR SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS ON
DECONTAMINATION SINCE NOT ALL PESTICIDES ARE DETOXIFIED BY THE ABOVE
All equipment used in the cleanup, as well as vehicles contaminated by the spill, should be
decontaminated using the same procedures. Wash all protective clothing and equipment before
reuse. All workers must shower and change to clean clothing.
Drums containing the cleanup material should be covered and labeled “SPILLED PESTICIDE –
POISON’, with the trade name or common name included. Drums should be transported to the
disposal site designated by the local office of the Ministry of the Environment.
PESTICIDE FIRES AND EXPLOSION HAZARDS
Check the label for warning symbols and precautions or directions regarding temperature and
proximity to open flames and heat.
Pesticides which contain oils will burn readily or the containers will explode when over-heated.
Some solvents which are used as carriers are highly flammable and explosive. Certain dry
formulations also have the potential to ignite. Sodium chlorate is well known for its flammability
when it is in contact with various substances. If it spills on clothing and dries, it is a serious hazard
to the wearer. Some dusts or powders, particularly those that are very fine (e.g. Sulfur) may ignite
as easily as gases or vapours.
The major hazard with fires and explosions is the release of the toxic fumes and smoke. These
are often more dangerous than the pesticide itself. Another hazard is the contamination of water
used to control the blaze. The contaminated water is potentially harmful to the fire fighting
personnel and the environment. Workers and fire fighters must be aware of the potential
poisoning hazard of pesticide fires so they can protect themselves.
The Storage Area
Keep the storage locked at all times when not in use to prevent fires from being deliberately set.
Store combustible materials away from heating devices. Do not store glass containers in the
sunlight where the containers could concentrate heat rays and start fires.
Fireproof materials should be used to line the storage area. Workers should be familiar with fire
extinguisher locations. Storage areas should be located as far as possible away from other
buildings and populated areas.
Local firemen should be notified of the contents of a storage facility of any size.
If a fire or explosion occurs, the following guidelines should be followed:
• Someone familiar with the pesticide toxicity and hazards of the resulting smoke, fumes,
splashes or other contamination should be on hand to warn firemen or anyone in the
• Evacuate residents downwind of the fire and do not enter the downwind area. Personnel
should remain upwind of the fire while fighting it. Prevent anyone from entering the burned
out area until the cleanup is complete. Check the downwind area for pesticide
contamination before allowing evacuated residents to return.
• Personnel assisting the firemen should wear full protective gear. When working in or near
the smoke and fumes a facemask and self-contained air supply may be necessary.
• Avoid dragging hoses and equipment through pesticide-contaminated water. Assume that
all equipment used to fight a fire is contaminated and hazardous until decontaminated.
• The runoff water should be diked to prevent it from entering sewers or water supplies.
Clean up the contaminated water and decontaminate buildings and equipment, using the
procedures for a spill.
• Avoid solid streams of water if possible as the force tends to spread contaminated material
and cause dusts to become airborne. This would be a possible explosion hazard or
• Overheated containers may erupt at any time. Try to keep a safe distance from the fire.
• DO NOT SMOKE, DRINK OR EAT in the vicinity of pesticide smoke or fumes.
• After the fire is controlled, immediately change clothing and wash. All clothing and other
safety equipment should be thoroughly washed.
• Check for leaking or otherwise damaged containers. These may cause further
contamination at a later date.
The preceding information was taken from the Saskatchewan Pesticide Applicator
Handbook Agriculture Division
Fuel Spill Cleanup
Eliminate any source of ignition. Keep public away. Prevent additional discharge of material, if
possible to do so without hazard. Prevent spills from entering sewers, watercourses or low areas.
Contain spilled liquid with sand or earth. Do not use combustible materials such as sawdust.
Recover by pumping (use an explosion proof motor or hand pump), or by using a suitable absorbent.
Consult an expert on disposal of recovered material. Ensure disposal is in compliance with
government requirements and ensure conformity to local disposal regulations. Notify the appropriate
authorities immediately. Take all additional action necessary to prevent and remedy the adverse
effects of the spill.
Any spill over 200L must be reported to the Spill Report Center at 1-800-667-7525
Should an explosion or fire occur the fire department, police or ambulance should be called
Major Response Steps
Typical response steps in the event of a spill of hazardous materials
1. Assess the situation, identify the products involved carefully locate, the source of the
leak and define a safety perimeter
• Depending on the scope of the spill, it may be useful at this stage to launch a
preliminary internal notification procedure if you have enough information.
• It may also be useful at this stage to immediately inform CANUTEC and you Regional
Environment Canada Emergencies Division to obtain technical support on line.
2. Carefully Stop or Control The Leak
• Only if the site is deemed safe enough (e.g. valves or taps are turned off).
• Approach the site with the wind at your back.
3. Confine The Spill or Contain The Product
• Insofar as the situation permits, an attempt must be made to contain the spilled product in
the smallest possible space close to the source.
• Avoid directing the product toward the sewer system or water.
4. Notify Authorities
• Spill Report Center at 1-800-667-7525
• Local specialized clean up firms if necessary
• Fire Department if needed
• Police Department if needed
5. Recover Spilled Materials
• The product must be recovered quickly to limit its migration or spread, taking into
consideration the properties of the product and weather conditions.
6. Safely Dispose of Contaminated Materials and Waste
• Use an accredited firm. Obtain a correctly completed waybill (i.e. a hazardous waste
7. Prepare an Accident Report
• Fill out a Written Spill Report Form for the Saskatchewan Environment. Forward the report
to the proper department.