Chemical Disasters

Chemical Disasters


Staff of the Blue Ridge Poison Center
participate in a disaster drill.

Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) incidents such as train derailments, tanker truck accidents and industrial accidents are real threats in Virginia.  Terrorist attacks, such as the release of sarin in the subway system of Tokyo in 1995, the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent anthrax attack shocked our nation and brought to our doorsteps the reality of our world today.

In the event of any chemical disaster, the Division of Medical Toxicology and the Blue Ridge Poison Center are prepared to maintain services to the emergency medical service providers (first responders), emergency departments, our 48 hospitals, and the general public, even if normal communication resources become unavailable.

Our communications network includes:

  • Telemedicine video conferencing
  • Satellite telephones
  • Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES): Licensed HAM radio operators available at our center and at all hospitals in our region. Antenna and repeater are on premises
  • ‘Quick FAX’ to all regional hospitals and 911 dispatch centers
  • Remote access to our multiple online databases with up-to-date information on toxins and hazardous materials
  • Web-based Emergency Operations Center (EOC) system for simultaneous communication between all hospital in our region
  • Ability to switch Blue Ridge Poison Center phones to another poison center or to a remote site.