Jackson County Wants To Create Hazmat Team - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Jackson County Wants To Create Hazmat Team

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Jackson County Emergency Management is looking to create a Hazmat team for the area. Right now the nearest unit is about an hour away.

A group of about 15 have been training all week to become Hazmat Technicians. But Thursday, they suited up and put their knowledge to the test as they became face to face with a hazardous emergency simulation.

"So the scenario is they respond to the local treatment facility and ultimately they'll figure out they have a chlorine leak they have to deal with," said Tracey Higdon.

Jackson County Emergency Management wants to be prepared.

"We have been fortunate that we haven't had any chemical leaks in Jackson county but we've had our fair share of derailments," said Emergency Management Director Rodney Andreasen. "And that is my biggest concern."

Dangerous and potentially harmful chemicals tend to be carried on these tracks daily, meaning a train derailment could easily spiral out of control.

"We want to make sure we can respoind immediately," said Andreasen. "If we can stop something before it becomes a bigger incident, then that's what we want to do."

 Andreasen says this can happen with a local Hazmat Response Team.

"Not to handle the major industrial sized incidents, but like chlorine leaking formal substation or a water treatment plant," said Andreasen.

Trainees went through the steps of that such incident Thursday making them prepared for next time...when it's not a test.

The county would still most likely need assistance from other agencies like they do now for much larger emergencies.

Not everyone in this weeks training works within the county, but for the first responders or park rangers who do, they are a step closer to becoming a part of the potential hazmat team.