THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI)-There have been several plant explosions throughout the country leaving many dead and even more injured. With multiple plants in our viewing area some are wondering how our emergency responders will be able tackle a similar situation. Many have seen the stories of recent plant explosions and fires like the one in Texas and Louisiana. Plants like Tronox that are among homes and other community businesses could cause as much damage. So that leaves the question…how would local emergency responders handle a similar incident?
“Once on scene we’re going to look at the situation we’re going to try to isolate the scene and begin necessary evacuation. We’ll try to identify the product and mitigate from that point,” says Rodger Mann.
Starkville’s Fire Chief, Rodger Mann, says the fire fighters use similar equipment in case of a chemical explosion.
“Some of the same equipment we use in a structure fire the self containing breathing apparatus, but we’ll have chemical protective suits that come in various levels,” says Mann.
Every man and woman must go through the basic training in order to serve as a fireman. Mann says training like this prepares each individual for the unexpected.
“A hazard material scene is much different then fire fighting scene. We could be on scene for several hours or several days. Here our guys go through the hazmat one, two, and some even go through the special class,” says Mann.
Columbus Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief, Mark Ward, says every emergency responder in the state has a plan.
“The whole state of Mississippi we use incident management plan so every county has an emergency comprehensive emergency plan and they would follow that plan and respond to a neighboring county as a mutual aid,” says Mark Ward.
Inside the emergency plan there is a list of resources that each fire department can provide such as equipment and man power. Ward says the reports sent by local industries also help the emergency responders know what materials they are dealing with.
“They send in reports to the fire department to emergency management stating what hazardous chemical they have on site and the amounts they have,” says Ward.
After much training to prepare for any situation, Ward believes the Columbus Fire and Rescue are ready for any circumstance.
“They’re prepared everyday when they come into work. You never know what’s going to happen that day so you just have to be mentally and physically prepared,” says Ward.
Each city has a hazmat truck equipped for chemical spills and explosions.