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14.040 - Hazardous Conditions

Effective Date: 05/07/2019

I. Hazards to the Public

A. Officers shall be alert for defects, damage, or obstructions to any streets, roadways, sidewalks, parking strips, or other installations or properties, the result of which may be dangerous or detrimental to public welfare.

B. This also applies to inoperative or impaired City utility installations, such as street lights out or obscured by trees, traffic signs down, damaged, or obscured by shrubbery, overhanging trees, or other objects, etc.

C. Some of the most common which require special handling are:

1. Fire Alarms.

a. Officers shall respond immediately to every fire alarm which they become aware of or are assigned to.

2. Wires Down.

a. Officers who respond to a call or otherwise come upon the scene of “wires down,” shall consider all wires to be energized and dangerous until proven otherwise.

(1) Telephone, fire alarm, trolley, and guideline wires may be in touch with high voltage wires at some other point, and such wires may carry lethal electric charges.

D. Officers discovering hazards shall take immediate action as soon as is practical by notifying the Communications Section of the nature of the hazard.

E. The Communications Section shall forward the information to the appropriate agency for corrective action.

F. If the hazard poses an immediate danger to the public, the officer or other authorized personnel, within the limits of available resources, shall safely maintain pedestrian and vehicular traffic control over the situation until it has been rendered safe by the appropriate agency, either in a temporary or permanent condition.

II. Hazardous Materials Incidents

A. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Emergency Response Guidebook should be consulted when responding to a Haz-Mat situation. The guidebook will help you identify and read hazard placards on transport vehicles. It will also provide you with information on the hazards of a particular material, and steps to take when responding to Haz-Mat incidents.

B. When responding to a hazardous materials incident, the first unit on-scene should:

1. Approach the scene from upwind,

2. Assess the need for, and request the assistance of, additional resources as needed.

a. The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) has overall responsibility for response to, and command of Haz-Mat situations. They should be notified as soon as possible.

b. A sergeant or above.

c. SFD Aid units.

3. Move people and keep them away from the scene. An initial safe perimeter is 500 feet.

4. Perform life saving rescue and first aid.

5. If possible, without endangering personal safety, attempt to identify the hazardous material.

a. Hazardous materials transported by rail or road should be marked with a placard that has a 4 digit number on it. Provide that number to Communications.

6. Secure and contain the scene until other resources arrive.

C. Once SFD has arrived and assumed command of the incident, the Department’s role shall be to participate in a unified command with SFD as the lead agency. This may include:

1. Traffic and crowd control.

2. Evacuation.

3. First Aid.

4. Identifying and interviewing witnesses.

5. Protection of property.

6. Transportation of victims.

III. Spill Response and Disposal

A. In situations where the SFD does not respond, the Department shall assess the need for removal and transportation of the hazardous material.

B. Officers shall notify the Communications Section as to the nature of the hazard.

1. The Communications Section will notify the Washington State Department of Ecology, which maintains 24 hour emergency Spill Response.

C. Remain at the scene until the DOE staff person arrives.

D. Request from the DOE staff person authorization to have the hazardous material removed.

E. Complete a Report on all Hazardous Materials or Spill Response incidents.

1. Include in the report the name of the environmental service provider.

2. Send an email to the Department Safety Coordinator titled “Hazardous Materials” or “Spill Response.” The email will contain the Report Number.

IV. Safety Coordinator Responsibilities

A. Upon receipt of a Report involving the emergency transportation of hazardous materials do the following:

1. Within 48 hours of the emergency transportation, complete a DOE form 2, “Notification of Dangerous Waste Activities”.

2. Send the completed DOE form 2 via Federal Express to:

Washington Department of Ecology

Attention: Sheri Dotson

300 Desmond Drive

Lacey, WA 98503

3. Upon receipt of the WAD number from DOE, provide the WAD number to the environmental service provider who removed the hazardous material.


Adrian Diaz, Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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The Seattle Police Department (SPD) prevents crime, enforces laws, and supports quality public safety by delivering respectful, professional, and dependable police services. SPD operates within a framework that divides the city into five geographical areas called "precincts".

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