OES Notepad

By: Fred Mullen


       We had a really good class this past Saturday.  Hazmat instructors Justin Hill from Louisiana  and John Hejl from  North Dakota were in Ozark to present 8 hours of training on Rail Car Flammable Liquids Incidents. Topics covered included a brief recent history of rail incidents involving the same kind of chemicals including crude oil, ethanol, etc  that are currently carried through Franklin County.  Pre-planning for this kind of incident was encouraged with an emphasis on multi-agency awareness and cooperation including working closely with Union Pacific Railroad.  Chip Heard, Arkansas Hazardous Materials Manager for Union Pacific, attended the class and made many helpful comments regarding the resources they can provide to us in event of an accident.

Franklin County Responders J.D. Gray, Frank Theising, and Calvin Weatherly look on as instructor Justin Hill, from Baton Rouge LA Fire Department, demonstrates rail tanker car safety features. Saturday’s class was provided by grant funding. (photo by Melissa Francis)

        Multi-agency, multi-discipline training for these events is so important because there will likely need to be road/street closures, evacuation or shelter in place orders given, fire and medical services provided.  There will be a lot of moving parts for the first 20 to 30 minutes of the incident and it will take all  kinds of emergency responders to make it happen.

       The class included some demonstration of how the various valves, switches, etc work on tanker cars (see related photo).  Class attendee, Chris Foreman, Arkansas  Department  of Emergency Management Hazmat Program Manager, complemented us on bring this quality of training to our Responders and also spoke highly of the training facility at Arkansas Tech’s Ozark Campus.  Thirty-four Responders, twenty-one from Franklin County, and five other counties including local government, State of Arkansas and Federal Agencies attended the class. 

The training was provided by a grant from the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) in Pueblo, Colorado. 


Sat Feb 16 at 0800 hrs. SAR Winter Skills Weekend–This is an inter-agency (LEOs, EMS, Fire, SAR, Dispatchers, etc.)  Search and Rescue Training. The Staging are will be at the PV Fire Station in Fern.  There will be a short refresher class on patrol, lookout and attraction tactics, and, the rest of the day will be field work looking for lost persons.  Any Franklin County or area Responder is invited to attend.  There are a few things you need to bring, please call me if you want to attend–479-209-0818.

Thu Feb 28 at 18:30 hrs Franklin County Homeland Security Planning Exercise at Arkansas Tech Student Union. This year’s exercise is named ‘Docs for Dollars’. It is about assessing damage due to an incident (severe weather, hazardous materials, etc) and providing ADEM and FEMA with the correct  documentation so we can  receive the highest reimbursement we are entitled.  All local emergency response agencies along with city clerks, local utility, road/street, schools, etc need to send their ‘paperwork person’.  Mayors, Council Members, and Quorum County members are encouraged to attend. For more info, give me a call at 479-209-0818

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