Product specialists can be a useful source of advice, particularly where the product is a proprietary preparation (trade name product) or where the specialist has particular knowledge of the site processes and can make suggestions for dealing with the incident.
However, a degree of caution should be used when involving product specialists who may have a vested interest in minimising the disruption caused by the incident, perhaps at the expense of emergency responders. In addition, an organisation’s assessment of risk for products in their normal use may not be appropriate for emergency response situations. Fire and rescue services should not rely on the organisation’s risk assessment and should always assess the risks apparent for each operational incident. If there is any doubt as to the integrity or suitability of the advice being offered by a product expert, fire and rescue services should seek alternative advice such as from an independent scientific adviser. It is in any case prudent to seek alternative views to those of a product specialist, even when inclined to follow their advice.