Heartland fire crews train on Haz-Mat scenario

MISSOURI (KFVS) - The Southeast Missouri Regional Response Team trained on Wednesday on a Haz-Mat scenario involving a car vs tractor trailer that is leaking diesel and chlorine.

Fire fighters from Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Sikeston, Gordonville and Fruitland Fire Departments, along with South Scott County Ambulance District were on scene training.

The Haz-Mat scenario was a motor vehicle accident. A car and tractor trailer collided which caused a leak with diesel from the truck, along with chlorine which leaked from a container that was being hauled.

In this incident, one person had to be extracted from a vehicle while another person died in the wreck.

Crews were sent to the scene in Haz-Mat gear to collect samples and to contain the chemical leak. First responders on scene said there is a lot that goes into this including planning and workers in various positions.

"There's a lot of behind the scenes stuff before we can even start going to look at our incident," Sikeston DPS Sergeant Derick Wheetley said. "There's a lot of prep work before we can send guys down range to the incident before we can handle it."

They feel it's very important to train for situations like this that can happen at a moments notice.

"The past few days is extremely important. We had a live incident the other day on the interstate," Wheetley added. "Today is just another day of doing Haz-Mat training. It gets everybody familiar with the equipment. We throw people in roles they aren't familiar with and you have to upkeep your training so you're not getting anybody hurt."

Wheetley added real life situations like this can become dangerous, risking many people's lives.

"They can be extremely dangerous," Wheetley said. "Not only for the responders but in high populated areas then we are looking at evacuations which is going to take a large coordination of everybody."

Wheetley said it's important they continue to work on communications between crews and departments to be efficient and as safe as possible.

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