Re: From the Blount County Emergency Management Office
Hazardous Materials Exercise
Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 6:00 pm
The multi-vehicle wreck that will be staged at 6 p.m., Thursday on Pellissippi Parkway near the Clayton Homes headquarters won’t be a real situation, but the personnel responding will be dealing with it as if it is the real thing.
The 2017 Blount County Local Emergency Planning Committee drill will be a full-scale hazardous materials exercise hosted by Alcoa Fire Department with help from law enforcement, fire and rescue agencies throughout Blount County.
Motorists on Pellissippi Parkway (US I-140) heading toward East Broadway Avenue (US 411 North) between 6 and 8 p.m. should see a wrecked F-250 Ford farm truck on the left side of the overpass near the Clayton Homes headquarters. The simulated crash is part of the drill scenario. A trailer with a 1,500-gallon tank is expected to be situated 100-feet below just off the pedestrian greenway between Clayton Homes and the Clayton-Bradley Academy.
Alcoa Fire Department Deputy Chief Darren Stinnett said he hopes the exercise reminds first responders to be aware but he also wants motorists to know there is no danger to anyone at the scene or to folks driving on Pellissippi Parkway.
“If they’re going to be driving eastbound on Pellissippi Parkway east of Cusick Road on the bridge that goes over the greenway, a small exercise is going on down below the bridge and there will be emergency units on the bridge so be aware and be careful,” he said. “It is only training and any vapors or smoke they may see is just theatrical smoke and there is nothing hazardous.”
Alcoa Fire Department personnel will connect a smoke machine to the tank to simulate a hazardous chemical leaking, causing a plume of dangerous gas that immobilizes the driver and several others. The task of all the drill participants is to practice responding to the emergency in the proper way to save lives, stabilize the situation and preserve property, Blount County Emergency Management Agency Director Lance Coleman said.
Coleman said the exercise is funded through the Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning Grant from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
Stinnett said that communications is a big issue during the full-scale drills and he is hoping that emphasizing the unified command structure where different agencies work together to respond to an incident will help alleviate the communications issue.
Stinnett said this will also give all the personnel the opportunity to practice responding to a hazardous materials transportation incident where individuals must be decontaminated, patients must be safely removed and the hazardous material must be mitigated to where it is safe for first responders and the public.
“These hazardous materials are traveling the roadways every day and transportation is always the weakest link in the safety of these products,” he said.
Stinnett said the drill should give law enforcement opportunity to train on responding to a hazmat situation and also give firefighters the opportunity to put on “Level A” hazmat suits that protect them from toxic fumes so they can train in that gear while removing patients and fixing the simulated leaking tanker.
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell says, “By our first responders constantly training on various hazardous emergency scenarios, we are better prepared when the actual events should occur. With this in mind, it is all about the ability of our responders to ensure that the safety of personnel and our citizens is the overall outcome to whatever emergency we are faced with on any given situation.”
Press Release questions can be directed to the
Blount County Mayor’s office at (865) 273-5700.
EMA Office: (865) 273-5835