Anyone fishing on the Menominee River on October 30th would have seen a questionable sight while passing ChemDesign. The flock of sixty-six emergency responders, six fire trucks, and four hazmat vehicles as part of a Multi-Agency Emergency Response Drill hosted by ChemDesign. Marinette County Emergency Management, Marinette, Menominee, Appleton, Peshtigo, and Green Bay Fire Departments, and 54thCivil Support Team (CST) from Madison were in attendance to perform the drill. This practice was held for all involved agencies to improve the familiarity and interoperability of responders in the Marinette region. A full-scale exercise in response to an unlikely chemical release that exceeds the local resources and becomes escalated to the Type 2 Hazmat Teams and the CST. Environmental officials stated that in the event of a workplace emergency, the priority would be to protect people and the environment.
This emergency response training drill consisted of a simulation of an unlikely, large leak in a tank carrying unknown, hazardous chemicals. As per the fictional situation, the emergency spill escalated and required ChemDesign to request type 2 hazmat teams and local emergency management to monitor the air quality of the site. Marinette County had its Mobile Command Center present. Appleton and 54th CST each had their mobile laboratories equipped with analytical instrumentations: infrared cameras and detectors to detect heat and identify specific chemical compounds, gas chromatographs, photoionization detectors (PID), gas monitors and wet chemistry methods for chemical analytes and explosives. CST additionally used a flying drone to practice monitoring the site from the air. All responding departments had sensors and equipment capable of communicating among the different departments to aid in determining chemical zones. The second part of the drill involved fictional cleanup activities and decontamination of the firefighters and hazmat squat that were involved. Chris Kanikula, Environmental Engineering Manager, tells us the importance of emergency drills “We are very fortunate to never have an emergency like this happen. This drill is just another preventative measure and provides beneficial practice to the emergency teams. It is unique to our site that the ChemDesign staff has the knowledge and skill to act immediately. However, it is also great we brought agencies all over Wisconsin together to perform important practice”. ChemDesign was honored to lend its site for this beneficial drill that allowed professionals to practice using their special equipment. Visit our community page to see other local organizations ChemDesign supports.