State Chemical Assessment Training Takes Place At Camp Ripley
It’s a day where first responders from all across the state come together with one common goal.
“It’s about being prepared for any scenario; we talk about an all-hazards approach. In our instance, today we worked this morning on an incident involving anhydrous ammonia, which is a common farm fertilizer. Today, we’re working on chlorine which is an essential product in purifying drinking water among many other purposes,” said Canadian Pacific Spokesperson Andy Cummings.
The yellow placard on the side of the train car shows what chemical is inside, and the CAT (Chemical Assessment Team) team goes on the train car to determine what is causing the smoke.
“The best part about this training is that we get to work with guys from other teams across the state and get familiar with them and we do not do a lot of training with them. We usually do a lot of training inside our own city, so it is really good to get to know and see other people that we might see on a big incident,” said Ron King, St. Paul Emergency Response Team.
Members from the railroad, emergency response teams, the chemical assessment teams and the local fire departments all work together to create the best possible outcome if a situation did arise.
“When it comes to railroads transporting hazardous materials, 99.998 percent of those arrive at their destination without a release caused by a train incident. It is a very safe way to move hazardous materials over land,” Cummings said.
Nine of the eleven Chemical Assessment Teams in the state participated in the simulation.
“We’ve done over 200 local fire departments across the state, we’ve been to all 87 counties in some form or another to do training so they can have an awareness level. Now what we are doing here is taking the next step,” said Kevin Reed, Deputy Director of DPS-HSEM.
By putting everything into action through positive collaboration.
“So they all get the same training and they are using the same equipment, but now we are kind of intermingling the teams so they are not working with their own team members, they are working with other teams and it’s working out very well,” said Rick Luth, DPS-HSEM State Teams Coordinator.
A training this size is the first of its kind in Minnesota.