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home : news : north central illinois   May 25, 2016

8/3/2013 5:23:00 AM
Emergency responders practice mock drill (video)

La Salle County EMA and first responders near Ottawa train for a hazardous material spill.
The “victim” of a simulated chemical spill is carried off to a waiting ambulance after being rolled across a makeshift operating line during a drill Thursday.NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
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The “victim” of a simulated chemical spill is carried off to a waiting ambulance after being rolled across a makeshift operating line during a drill Thursday.

NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
Kevin Caufield
NewsTribune Reporter

OTTAWA — Radio scanners inside the gatehouse at Sabic Innovative Plastics suddenly burst into voice traffic while a man wearing a red vest and hard hat barked quick instructions at the security officials inside.
“We need Marseilles Ambulance, Marseilles Fire, and one pumper truck…”
Emergency responders in the Ottawa area were treated to a surprise chemical spill drill with simulated injuries at the Ottawa-based plastics manufacturer Thursday morning.
Operation C.A.R.E. was a full scale exercise sponsored by La Salle County Local Emergency Planning Committee and the La Salle County Emergency Management Agency to test and practice emergency plans in numerous organizations such as police, CSX, hospitals and Sabic emergency crew.
“This will allow us to learn and adjust our procedures,” said La Salle County EMA deputy director Fred Moore. “It gives everyone involved an opportunity to think outside the box.”
Thursday’s role-playing scenario began with tornadic winds tipping a rail car onto its side spilling a chemical called acrylonitrile — a chemical compound used in the manufacture of plastics — resulting in many injuries.
Firefighters on the scene set up several saw horses with wading pools underneath and a long metal ladder.
A “victim” strapped to a medical backboard was rolled over the ladder while firefighters sprayed him off. He was then taken to OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center, where emergency room staff would have to assist him.
“No one except the planners from the various agencies knew exactly when the scenario would take place so that we could have a surprise element,” Moore said.
“We try to keep it as real as possible, but also safe, because we learn so much from doing these exercises.”

Related Stories:
• County EMA grading selves, emergency crews on drill

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