CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Region E Homeland Security Response Team performed a drill at Buzzi Unicem in Cape Girardeau on Wednesday, Oct. 17.
Two firefighters climbed a leaking tanker truck to pull down a worker knocked unconscious by a dangerous chemical. “Our initial concern is always life safety,” said Jason Poole, Cape Girardeau Master Firefighter.
These members of our region's Homeland Security Response Team took part in this very realistic training exercise.
"If it’s a hazmat emergency the first thought is okay what do we have, what kind of chemical, how is it leaking, what’s it leaking from,” said Poole. About 40 team members from Cape Girardeau, Sikeston and Jackson worked to rescue the injured, then safely secured the scene.
“Is anybody involved that can be in an unsafe situation or in a possible dire emergency that would need to be evac’ed and given medical treatment,” said Poole. Buzzi Unicem employees served as victims in what they called a very unsettling experience. “You hope you never get in that position. But it definitely makes you feel better that there’s somebody that can get to you and help you if it does happen,” said Tim Neislein, Buzzi Unicem Alternate Fuels Technician.
Both teams took the drill seriously, and even washed off their gear that could have been contaminated by a chemical substance.
“When we’re in training, we think of it as this is real. We try not to think oh it’s okay it’s just training. We try to get out there and do it the right way,” said Zak Haskin, Sikeston Department of Public Safety Sergeant. “It lets them know whenever they do have an accident or an issue that they are more than welcome to call us and we’ll be able to respond quickly and efficiently take care of the situation,” said Poole. The Homeland Security Response Team performs drills monthly. In November, they will focus on victim search and rescue.