First responders participate in training exercise
The Granton Abercrombie Branch Road was lit up by the flashing lights of fire trucks Saturday morning as Northern Pulp partnered with local fire departments to practise a hazardous materials response situation.
The annual simulation was bumped up in scale this year with the addition of mutual aid response as well as EHS and other community involvement.
“Last year it was … more in-house and didn’t involve EHS,” said Kathy Cloutier, head of communications for the company.
The training exercise is held as a way of helping the company’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) practise their skills in a high stakes situation.
The ERT currently has 35 members on the team, allowing them to have a member on site for every shift. The team receives regular fire, advanced first aid, hazardous materials and other relevant training.
Saturday’s scenario was that the driver of a truck carrying hydrochloric acid had a medical event, such as a heart attack, and the truck tipped over and spilled its contents. Along with the casualty of the driver, Mike Pittoello, chief of the ERT, shared that one member would be simulating having heat stroke and another would simulate a major fracture, to test the skills of those involved.
“When our members respond we’ll do an assessment,” said Pittoello about the situation. The company used a website version of the I am Responding application used by some local fire departments.
“EMO (Emergency Management Office) would also be contacted,” said Pittoello. “There’s a risk of the spill going beyond the site. ”
By the end of the exercise the teams diluted the spill, contained it and moved the chemical to a spill way the company has set up.