PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — Each year, the Scioto County Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) coordinates a simulated Hazardous Material Response Incident in the area to practice how first response agencies handle the emergency situation.
This year’s Hazardous Material Exercise will feature what fire, EMS, hospitals and law enforcement would do to protect the public should a barge explosion and fire occur at the Altivia Petrochemicals Facility on the Ohio River at Haverhill.
The simulated fire and release of Cumene will test response agencies ability to formulate how to stay safe while helping to mitigate the release and emergency situation as well as how to safely extract mock victims who have been exposed and injured from the explosion and chemical fire.
The mock victim play will extend to the Southern Ohio Medical Center and set up standby status at Kings Daughters Medical Center in Portsmouth for the care of any potential casualties that might arise from the blast and fire. Patients would require decontamination before triage and transport at the scene, which provide additional practice for fire and EMS and plant personnel should the event occur in real life.
The annual LEPC exercise scenario is the result of a terrorism event that prompts the explosion giving local law enforcement practice at security and response components to challenge the overall response by first response agencies.
“In addition to the scenario of an intentional explosion and fire and chemical release with the required hazardous material response protocol being exercised, the Scioto County Amateur Radio Emergency Services will verify back up communications capabilities for the agency players’ locations to ensure that in the event this were a real emergency and regular communications on the MARCS system and UHF Radios were lost, that the plant and Scioto County Emergency Operations Center and the two hospitals could all still communicate and coordinate the response required to mitigate the emergency and protect the community nearby,” said Kim Carver, director of Scioto County Emergency Management Agency (EMA).
State and federal agencies are included in the list of players for the exercise events, including: Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio State Patrol, Scioto County Emergency Management Agency, Scioto County Sheriff Department, Green Township Fire and EMS, Porter Township Fire and EMS, Southern Ohio Medical Center, Kings Daughters Medical Center Ohio and the Scioto County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES).
Anyone traveling in and around the chemical facility on U.S. 52 in eastern Scioto County and sees emergency vehicle traffic should not be alarmed as it is only a drill underway for preparedness training.