Officials seek volunteer victims | CraigDailyPress.com

Officials seek volunteer victims

Hazardous materials accident planned in May as training exercise

Ryan Sheridan

There is going to be a disastrous accident involving a vehicle carrying toxic chemicals next month, and there will be approximately 20 casualties.

The accident will occur on May 5 and Nostradamus is not the source of this information.

Deputy Clyde Anderson, Moffat County Emergency Manager, is the source and is also in charge of organizing the accident and finding victims.

“We are looking for volunteers to serve as mock victims for a disaster drill,” Anderson said. “This is a practice drill to allow emergency responders to practice dealing with a large-scale situation.”

This year’s annual countywide mass casualty drill will include hazardous materials (Haz-Mat) technicians.

“The emergency services of the area will have to deal with an accident situation involving a hazardous material spill in addition to victims of the collision, or accidents themselves,” Anderson said.

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The fire department, ambulance, police department, Haz-Mat crew, sheriff’s department, and the hospital will participate.

“That jet landing at the Craig airport was a real wake-up call. It underscores the need for training and practice,” Anderson said.

All emergency agencies and responders in Moffat County have been invited to participate.

An accident on Tuesday that shut down Colorado Highway 9 between Kremmling and Silverthorn highlights the need for this type of preparedness, Anderson said. A barrel carrying acid was knocked from the truck carrying it, forcing authorities to close the area down and deal with a toxic situation.

Setting up a mock accident allows the various departments to work together and exercise the Incident Command System (ICS), said Charity Sjogren, an Emergency Response Team leadership team member.

The ICS is the blueprint for the chain of command that cooperating departments follow when working together.

“This drill is to help law enforcement, fire/rescue, hospital, and Haz-Mat work on inter-agency coordination,” Sjogren said. “It helps us to learn how to operate with Haz-Mat, to wait for their decision telling us if we can go in and safely operate.”

Haz-Mat Chief and City Councilor, Bill Johnston, said that all 11 of the Haz-Mat technicians have been certified by a “grueling” two-week program of intensive training in Pueblo. The Haz-Mat team trains independently every month.

“The team is made up of three firefighters, two Tri-State Haz-Mat team members, two police officers, two deputies, and a Road and Bridge employee from the county and city departments,” Johnston said. “We’ve invited every department in Moffat County to participate in the countywide mass-casualty drill to make this situation as comprehensive as possible.”

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