KNOX COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Knox and Daviess counties emergency services banded together Saturday to learn.
They worked on Hazmat situations.
Remember the fire at a farm in southern Indiana that involved some dangerous chemicals last month? That’s why emergency responders do drills like this.
This hazmat situation looks a bit scary, but it’s a very real one in Knox and Daviess counties.
“We have had numerous anhydrous ammonia leaks. We have multiple crop services around that house these. And on an annual basis, we have one that gets turned over and leaks. We have one that gets hit by a car and leaks,” said Kellie Streeter, Knox County Emergency Management Agency Public Information Officer.
“Whether you realize it or not, there’s product moving every day, past you, around you and throughout your community,” said Tony Jarrell, Battalion Chief, Vincennes City Fire Department.
This exercise was for Knox and Daviess counties emergency responders. The practice makes the difference when real situations come up.
Hazardous chemicals create dangerous situations for both the responders and the entire community.
“These facilities that house these chemicals sit in the middle of all our communities. Some are near nursing homes, some are near schools. And unfortunately, there’s no way to prepare unless we have events such as this,” said Streeter.
During a situation such as this, to an outside observer, it looks chaotic.
“We use what’s called incident command. We set up a command structure where everyone has a pre-identified role,” said Streeter.
But first responders call it organized chaos.
“Everybody knows their job. They know the steps they have to take. And once set up and going, it functions well,” said Jarrell. “When the real thing happens, you don’t have time to stop and think. You have to react.”
Practicing that type of system is a major part of these exercises.
“It allows us to sit and talk ahead of time of an event. So therefore, we’re better prepared,” said Streeter.
Keeping local emergency responders on top of their game.
“This is my community. I want it to be a clean, safe area,” said Jarrell.