October 31, 2014

Emergency Scenarios

It’s a scene no one ever wants to face. Two victims down, covered in chemicals after chlorine clouds from a passing train fill the air and begin to spread.

Luckily in this case, it was just a practice drill for local emergency teams brought together in Naperville to train for hazardous material cleanup.

“We do hazmat training every month and we don’t get a lot of hazmat calls, or incident or leaks, so when we get a chance to practice and get everybody together we have Aurora here Downers Grove and when we can get those departments to come in practice and brush up on those skills for when we do get the real incident,” said Scott Salela, Firefighter and Paramedic with the Naperville Fire Departent.

Crews teamed up with the Canadian National Railroad to simulate how rescue and Hazmat teams would alleviate hazards like a chlorine vapor cloud.

The exercise took around three hours and detailed every step officials would take.

“Initial companies get on the scene, they identify the product, once the product is identified, they’ll select personal protective equipment to wear to deal with that product,” said Andy Dina, Bureau Chief with the Naperville Fire Department. “Then if you see them on top of the rail car, they’re doing a reconnaissance to see what they need to repair the leak. Once they determine the right equipment then they’ll bring that up and they’ll stop the leak.”

In situations like these, the primary concern is to make sure any victims are taken care of as quickly as possible.

“We did a quick recon and we realized we had two victims go down, we rescued those two victims and then we de-coned them with the hose line, washed as much chlorine product as we could get off and then we had them both transported to the hospital,” said Salela.

This was the first time the team coordinated with the railway and officials believe it was a success.


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