Every facility should have written emergency response procedures for the hazards present on site. These response procedures will vary not only based on the facility itself, but also based on the hazardous materials present, processes in place, and procedures being conducted. An Emergency Action Plan or Contingency Plan should describe the response measures to follow in various emergency situations, and training sessions should clearly explain the response procedures in detail.
If cyanide is present at your facility, a specific exposure response procedure needs to be developed for a known or suspected cyanide poisoning. Administration of amyl nitrite inhalants used to be the recommended immediate response measure to cyanide exposures. However, there are now questions about the risks associated with the use of amyl nitrite inhalants so some occupational health physicians may be reluctant to recommend their use. Administration of a cyanokit, which is administered via IV, is the current emergency response recommendation made by many occupational health physicians for cyanide poisonings. If cyanide is used at your facility, a call to the local EMTs to determine if they carry cyanokits on ambulances as standard practice is an important call to make. Having this information ahead of time will save valuable time should a cyanide exposure occur.
Please remember you should always check with your occupational health physician for their recommendations on exposure response procedures for specific hazards.