The release of toxic substances into the atmosphere from whatever source may be visible or invisible, once detected attempts to measure density, determine flume spread and identify the pollutant and its origin can be undertaken. The direction of the plume can be mapped but the consequences to the public, animals and flora are not always known until after the event.
All fires produce smoke and it is not always easy to identify what is contained in that smoke due to the varying substances burning.
Toxic substances produced as a result of failure in chemical processes can be dangerous.
Toxic clouds from static, transport hazards or any other source constitute an unmanageable and unpredictable danger.
Terrorist Activity Release
Terrorist activities can take many forms one of these is the placing of bombs or the reporting of bombs, these are meant to maim or kill or alternatively to cause maximum disruption to everyday life and industry and commerce, whilst promoting the cause of the organisation.
Bombing may include the planting of explosives at specific targets, the delivery of devices to addresses in either letters or parcel (these may be explosive or incendiary) or the use of missiles.
In more recent times there is the threat from organisations using bombs, which may carry radiation, chemical, or biological contaminates, the so-called dirty bomb. There is also the threat of human bombs or kamikaze acts.
In recent years the threat from extremist organisations has changed from the intent to cause disruption to society to a threat to human life. The use of suicide bombs are now a real threat.
Planning for such eventualities
The decontamination of people is a responsibility of the Fire Service but the clean up of the environment would become the responsibility of the council. The council has a plan in place that would be used to assist in this decontamination process.