When a container of anhydrous ammonia sprung a leak over the state line this past spring, the poisonous gas that spread caused injuries to motorists and firefighters and forced the closure of schools in the area. About a dozen people found themselves in the hospital from exposure to the gas.
In an effort to be prepared for any accident involving the chemical commonly used as a fertilizer in farms around Somers, the Fire Department included it in its annual hazardous material training held June 4 on the Jerry Smith farm.
The Somers Fire & Rescue Department invited the Kenosha County Hazmat team as well as the Racine team to take part in the training exercise. In total, about 40 firefighters took part in the event.
“The Kenosha County and Racine Hazmat teams have been working together for the past 11 years in joint training,” said Somers Fire and Rescue Captain Aaron Strom. “Things run very smoothly,”
Having the departments train together helps improve response to any incident. In addition, it gives first responders a chance to get hands-on experience on new equipment and software that other departments have acquired.
Firefighters donned vapor-tight hazmat suits on their way to a leaking trailer, reaching a victim, reaching a first responder overtaken by the “poisonous” gas, fixing the leak, and decontaminating the equipment used.
The training was very successful, according to Strom.