Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Marcus Huff
Staff Writer 

First responders to meet, plan for Hazmat exercise

 

December 4, 2018



WORLAND – During a special session of the Washakie County Commission this afternoon, area first responders will meet to detail plans for a county-wide full-scale exercise to be held this Saturday, to enact a hazardous materials event.

The Saturday exercise, paid for by a Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) Grant, will take place north of Worland, in the vicinity of the town sewer lagoon property. In the planning stages for nine months through the Local Emergency Planning Commission, the exercise will test local first responders in their ability to effectively communicate in the case of a large-scale hazardous materials emergency.

For Washakie County Emergency Management Director Jeff Schweighart, public information is just as important as the actual exercise.

“The biggest thing is public awareness that the [Saturday] exercise is a planned exercise,” said Schweighart, “so they are not to think that we are having a real emergency event.”

At today’s commission meeting, first responders will hold a mock drill notification, to simulate a 9-1-1 call, to gauge coordination through the local notifications systems. The drill will run from approximately 1:30 until 3 p.m.

According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the HMEP grant program was established in 1990 by the Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act. The program is designed to allow grantees the flexibility to implement training and planning programs that address differing needs for each location based on demographics, emergency response capabilities, commodity flow studies, and hazard analysis. The HMEP grant award amount prior to 2009 was $12.8 million; award amounts thereafter were increased to $21.8 million. 

Washakie County is one of only seven counties in Wyoming to receive the grant, totaling $20,625.

 
 

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