What to do if a thermometer broke in an apartment: 5 consecutive steps and useful recommendations
In each family in the first-aid kit there is a thermometer for measuring body temperature. Modern electronic or infrared thermometers are safe, but most people use Soviet mercury in the old fashioned way, considering them more accurate.
But if during an awkward movement the thermometer in the apartment broke what to do? To cope on their own or to run to call the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the ambulance and the sanitary and epidemiological station?
Mercury Thermometer Tips
Since childhood, everyone knows that mercury is dangerous to human health, but glass things tend to beat. That is why mercury temperature gauges have always been treated carefully and carefully, perhaps because of this they are found in every second family in the post-Soviet space.
The safety rules for using mercury thermometers are as follows.
- Keep the thermometer away from children. It is inventive children most often become the perpetrators of the broken meter. Watch your child when you measure his temperature.
- A thermometer must necessarily have a solid durable case.
- Shaking the thermometer, be extremely careful - do not take it with wet hands and stay away from furniture and other items that you can touch.
What consequences are possible in case of damage to the thermometer?
Before you figure out what to do if a mercury thermometer broke in an apartment, let's find out how dangerous its contents are?
The metal itself is almost no threat, but it has the ability to evaporate, ranging from +18 degrees, and poison everything around. Be sure to instruct households that it is impossible to hide the fact of damage to the thermometer, and learn the algorithm of actions to eliminate toxic substances.
The thermometer contains up to two grams of mercury.It would seem a little, but they can bring tangible harm to health. The problem is aggravated by the fact that nimble little balls can scatter on the carpet, get behind the baseboard or into the crack of the floor. Mercury has the ability to accumulate in the body, and the symptoms of poisoning will not appear soon, when you already don’t remember about the broken device, which will make the diagnosis more difficult.
Mercury vapor can cause the following conditions.
- Diseases of the respiratory system, pneumonia, tuberculosis.
- The defeat of the thyroid gland.
- Diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
- Irreversible changes in the internal organs: liver, kidney.
- Violations of the central nervous system up to paralysis.
Step-by-step instructions for neutralizing mercury
What to do if the thermometer broke at home? Calm down and do not worry. Act quickly, clearly and competently. Trembling hands and state of shock will not help you.
Step 1 Exemption from outsiders
First of all, remove all people from the room. This is especially true of children, pregnant women and the elderly. Pet pets should also be protected from danger.
Step 2 Airing the room
Remember that mercury evaporates at temperatures above 18 degrees. If possible, cool the air by opening the window. Avoid drafts - mercury balls can “run up” around the apartment. Turn on the air conditioner, turn off the heaters.
Step 3 Mercury collection
Change into clothes that can be thrown away. The ideal option would be an ordinary cellophane raincoat. Wear rubber gloves, shoe covers, and a wet gauze bandage over your face.
Prepare a glass container with an airtight lid, cold water, manganese or a bleach solution, a medical syringe or syringe without a needle.
Pieces of the thermometer put in a jar of water or a solution of manganese. There also send all the collected mercury balls.
Silver metal glows in bright light, so achieve bright lighting, so it will be easier to collect mercury. Carefully inspect all the cracks and cracks, highlight the flashlight.
Step 4 Demercurization
The alchemical name of mercury is Mercury, after the name of the planet that is closest to the Sun. Demercurization is the neutralization of a toxic substance.
After you have carefully and carefully found and collected the liquid metal from the broken thermometer, put the waste in a bottle of water and sealed the lid, it must be put into the cold for later disposal.
The place of the spill of mercury should be neutralized with the help of chemical neutralizers. Dissolve potassium permanganate to a dark-purple state, add vinegar and salt to a liter of liquid in a tablespoon, and proceed to the treatment of all surfaces in the room.
Instead of manganese, you can use a solution of bleach, the easiest way to take an ordinary "whiteness". A mixture of water, soda and laundry soap is also a good demercurizer.
Step 5 Dispose of the thermometer
The bank with mercury waste must be assigned to SES or MES, where it will be disposed of by experts.Also collect and bring together with a jar of clothes in which to work, and all things helpers: Syringe, syringe, gloves, gauze bandage.
If you can not contact the authority for the disposal of mercury will have to do it yourself. Take toxic waste to a landfill or outside the settlement and dig deep into the ground.
When without the help of experts can not do
Be sure to call the MOE, they will instruct you how to act. Usually they are reluctant to leave for such calls, but they will recommend which authority to contact. Also, you can always contact SES to check the concentration level of mercury vapor.
Without qualified help you can not do if:
- there were suspicions that not all mercury balls were collected;
- mercury has got on heating devices. At a temperature of about 40 degrees this metal boils, which means that evaporation occurs almost instantly;
- you are at risk: pregnant, under 18 or over 65 years old suffering from diseases of the urinary and nervous system.
If you broke a thermometer in the room, what to do to avoid poisoning?
It is very difficult to establish the correct diagnosis, the symptoms are similar to many diseases.Depending on the number of mercury vapors that have entered the body, an indisposition can begin both a few hours after the incident, and after weeks or even months.
Symptoms of poisoning:
- general weakness;
- nausea and vomiting;
- metallic taste in the mouth;
- pain in the stomach.
With prolonged intoxication, the situation is aggravated. The body temperature rises, cough, chest pain, frequent urination and bleeding gums appear.
In case of acute signs of poisoning, especially if you suspect mercury, you should call an ambulance and hospitalize the victim.
In the hospital, the patient is washed in the stomach, an antidote is injected and the blood is dripped. If the treatment is timely, the recovery period will take 2-3 weeks.
Prevention of poisoning
To avoid mercury poisoning, it is necessary to thoroughly remove all mercury from the room,if the thermometer still broke.
Get a modern thermometer, then the risk of poisoning will be reduced to a minimum.
The following actions cannot be taken.
- Touch the mercury balls with bare bare hands. Why risk and endanger yourself?
- To process the place of spill of mercury household chemicals. For these purposes, there is manganese, chlorine solution or soap-soda.
- Wash the clothes in which you worked in the washing machine - the smallest particles of poison will settle in the mechanism.
- Use a vacuum cleaner or a broom. Do you think that by sucking in the mercury particles with a vacuum cleaner, you made your job easier? No, you only made the situation worse. Mercury, having broken into tiny droplets, has spread over a large area of the room, and it is now impossible to remove it mechanically. And now the vacuum cleaner will have to be thrown away, since its internal parts have retained some of the mercury. Broom also breaks the balls into smaller ones.
- Flush into the sewer. You worsen the condition of the water and the atmosphere in the toilet room, because mercury will settle on the inner surfaces of sewer pipes.Your housemates will also be affected by toxic fumes.
- Throw in the trash or garbage disposal. Why poison the air in the stairwell and on the street? Someone may suffer.
When you're done with the trouble of collecting toxic metal, don't forget about yourself. Wash thoroughly with household soap, brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with a pink solution of manganese. Drink as much liquid as possible, and milk is better, as in poisoning. Take the sorbents.
If a mercury catastrophe still happened, but you correctly and correctly performed demercurization, got rid of all the things and objects in contact with the toxic metal, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
And for complete peace of mind, get a mercury vapor analyzer - test strips that change color. It is much cheaper and more accessible than calling specialists for verification.