Teck conducts emergency exercise with fire department
On May 27, Teck Trail Operations conducted a joint emergency exercise with the Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue and the Regional District Kootenay Boundary Emergency Program.
“This is a beneficial training opportunity both for Teck and our training partners,” said Catherine Adair, community relations leader for Teck.
“It’s a good opportunity for on ground experience for first responders and for everyone to work together.”
The last emergency response exercise took place in 2008. These exercises are not regularly scheduled.
“There are some [emergency responders] for whom it will be their first time through [this training simulation],” said Adair.
Two emergency simulations were constructed. The first occurred inside the Warfield operations at Teck, where a rail car holding ammonia leaked into the air (this was simulated with smoke).
Ammonia is used in the production of fertilizer at Teck.
Inside the rail car tank, ammonia is a liquid, but a leak causes it to turn to a vapour, which is a dangerous respiratory hazard.
The rail car operator was also injured and lying on the ground beside the rail cars.
The first responders to the scene wore respirators and dragged the man away from the rail cars. Then water was hosed onto the rail cars.
“This dissipates the cloud, turning it back into liquid and making it inert, or not dangerous,” said Adair.
“A big thing they’re going to look at is wind direction,” said Adair. She explained that if this simulation were a real situation, the Warfield plant would get evacuated, as would specific residents of Warfeild.
The second simulation was based on “vapour crossing Bingay Road immediately outside the fence of the operation and causing a two-car vehicle collision,” said Adair.
“The Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue led the response for this part of the incident, which also involved the mutual aid partners.”
Volunteers sat inside the cars. They were given cards which described their injuries.
The Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue and B.C. Ambulance Service arrived and attended to the injured. The people were taken out of the cars, put on stretchers and taken to triage. One of the cars had its roof removed by firefighters.
“Teck and our mutual air partners regularly conduct training both internally and through our emergency response agreements,” said Adair.
The simulations were filmed by a Teck employee to be used as an aid in emergency response training.
“This training scenario was designed in order to incorporate all the participating agencies, and best ensure that all the first responders are prepared in the unlikely event that an incident may occur,” said Adair.
“An incident such as the one simulated for this training exercise has never occurred at Trail Operations,” said Adair.