Hazmat emergency preparedness in Hong Kong: What are the dangerous goods in Kowloon?

Frank G. Walter, Jimmy Tal Shing Chan, Billie Winegard, Farshad Mazda Shirazi, Peter B. Chase, Yuk Yin Chow, Melanie de Boer, Kurt Denninghoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Hazmat emergency preparedness is critical, especially as Hong Kong prepares for major international events, such as the 2008 Olympic Equestrian Games. No published medical study has described the identities and quantities of dangerous goods (DG) in the Kowloon area and listed what antidotes are needed for these DG. This study describes what hazardous materials are most common in Kowloon to prioritise emergency preparedness and training. Materials & methods: Design: A descriptive, cross-sectional study. Setting: The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, specifically Kowloon. Sample: The Hong Kong Fire Services Department (HKFSD) Dangerous Goods Database (DGD). Interventions: Descriptive statistical analyses with Stata 9.2. Chief outcome: Identifying and quantifying dangerous goods in the HKFSD DGD. Results: Most DG do not have antidotes. The most common DG with recognised antidotes are carbon monoxide, methylene chloride, fluorine, fluorides, fluoroboric acid, cyanides, nitriles, methanol, nitrobenzene, nitrites, and nitrates. The most common categories of DG are substances giving off inflammable vapours, compressed gases, and corrosive and poisonous substances. Conclusions: Hazmat emergency preparedness and training should emphasize these most common categories of DG. Disaster planning should ensure adequate antidotes for DG with recognised antidotes, i.e., oxygen for carbon monoxide and methylene chloride; calcium gluconate or calcium chloride for fluorine, fluorides, and fluoroboric acid; hydroxocobalamin for cyanides and nitriles; ethanol for methanol; and methylene blue for methaemoglobinaemia produced by nitrobenzene, nitrites, and nitrates. Supportive care is essential for patients exposed to hazardous materials because most dangerous goods do not have antidotes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-176
Number of pages21
JournalHong Kong Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Disaster planning
  • Emergency medicine
  • Epidemiology
  • Hazardous substances
  • Toxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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