The Greeneville Fire Department and safety officials from Jarden Zinc drilled together last week to practice response procedures related to hazardous chemical release incidents.
The training was presented to firefighters from all shifts between Wednesday and Friday.
Cooperation between firefighters and industries is essential to ensure the best outcome in the event of a haz-mat incident, said Marty Shelton, administrative captain and training officer with the Greeneville Fire Department.
Classroom instruction was supplemented with drills involving recommended procedures on how to safely contain a chemical release.
Two members of Jarden Zinc’s Environmental Health and Safety Department served as instructors during the classroom sessions and drills like the one conducted Friday afternoon.
The drill focused on the release of a hazardous chemical from a rail tanker car.
Non-toxic smoke was used to simulate the gas that would result if some chemicals are exposed to the air.
Water leaking from a protective cap identical to the type used on top of tanker cars represented a liquid chemical. As the Jarden Zinc safety instructors provided guidance, Greeneville firefighters used special tools to seal off the leak.
“It’s exactly the same thing they would see on top of a rail car,” said Jeff Winters, director of Jarden Zinc’s Environmental Health and Safety Department.
Winters was assisted by Russell Emmette, another member of Jarden’s safety department.
Providing hazardous material training and response procedure benefits both Jarden Zinc and the fire department, Winters said.
The training is provided to Jarden Zinc employees on a regular basis. Jarden Zinc participated in a similar cooperative training exercise last year with the Greeneville Fire Department.
“We have the knowledge and the skill set to be able to respond to hazardous material-related emergency issues,” Winters said.
The exercise is part of the Greeneville Fire Department’s annual in-service training regimen.
“The coordination is better when we’re working with local industry. We’ve got better knowledge skills being able to team up,” Shelton said. “If it’s at their location we will depend on their knowledge.”
Firefighters are trained on two different levels of hazardous materials response, Shelton said.
The levels include technician and specialized-level ratings, comparable to an emergency medical technician and a paramedic, Shelton said.
The state requires renewal every three years to ensure experience in haz-mat and other types of training, Shelton said.
Eight hours of training is required by the state, but the Greeneville Fire Department provides 16 hours of training for each technician and specialist firefighter.
In the event of any haz-mat incident above a 10-gallon level, “You are one of the first (agencies) to be notified if we have a leak,” Emmette told firefighters.
Greeneville-based Jarden Zinc Products LLC, on Old Stage Road, supplies solid zinc strip and zinc-based products.