If the threat of a global avian flu pandemic weren't enough, disaster planners now have something else to worry about: their emergency supplies.
Harmless as it may seem, stashing pallets of emergency supplies— food, water, hand sanitizers, face masks, respirators—in a corner of the DC could actually be dangerous. If stored in large quantities, some of those stockpiled items may pose hazards. For example, hand sanitizers, some of which contain alcohol, can be classified as a flammable material when stored in large enough quantities.
For that reason, experts advise companies to check their local fire codes before bringing these materials into the DC and to review the material safety data sheets, which should accompany all potentially dangerous products, for information on proper storage procedures.
"You need to be aware of the flash point of the materials ... the point where the material gives off a vapor that could ignite," says John Auger, chairman of third-party service provider Brook Warehousing Systems and the head of the International Warehouse Logistics Association's Council on Chemical Logistics Providers. "The best thing to do is touch base with your local fire ... officials and tell them what kind of product you are bringing in, how it is packaged and ask for their guidance on how they would like you to handle it."