October 1, 2008
Local Fire Departments and Industry Coordinate Live Anhydrous Ammonia Release Exercises
Tanner Industries, Inc., PM HazMat Inc and Atlanta based Nordic Cold Storage, LLC, cumulated 3 days of ammonia safety and emergency response training with live release anhydrous ammonia exercises across from the Atlanta Motor Speedway in McDonough, GA area. This is the 6th year that this growing program has helped train industry personnel as well as public sector personnel such as local fire departments and hazardous materials response teams in the Atlanta, GA area.
The first 2 days of training consisted of 4-hour custom classroom sessions and 8-hour operations and technician level responder refresher training. The training was facilitated at 2 training locations, north and south of Atlanta at the Henry County Public Safety Building in McDonough and the Roswell Alpharetta Public Safety Training Center in Alpharetta, on September 29 and 30. The training was presented by David Binder, Director of Quality, Safety & Regulatory Affairs for Tanner Industries, a national supplier and distributor of ammonia, and J. Patrick Johnson from PM Hazmat, a training and consulting company. Binder and Johnson are recognized as premier trainers and 2 of the finest in the world in regards to ammonia and emergency response.
The classroom portion included training on the chemical and physical properties of anhydrous ammonia, packaging and transportation equipment, health effects, first aid, types of potential releases and response recommendations. The classroom sessions were attended by various industry and fire department personnel, including Nordic Cold Storage, LLC, Atlas Cold Storage, AmeriCold Logistics, U.S. Foodservice, H.C. Brill Company, Henry County Fire Department, DeKalb County Fire Department,, Clayton County Fire Department, City of Atlanta Fire Department, City of Roswell Fire Department, City of Alpharetta Fire Department, City of Cedartown, and others.
The highlight of the training program included several live release exercises on October 1. This was a multi-jurisdictional exercise involving several fire departments and industry personnel. Other exercises including hazmat and medical rescue were included as part of the program.
Henry County set up a command bus to coordinate the day's events. Three separate hazmat divisions, lead by Henry County, DeKalb County, and Clayton County, with each division comprised of several teams of industry hazmat technicians and fire fighter hazmat technicians, including City of Atlanta hazmat technicians, worked on control and containment procedures involving a live release of anhydrous ammonia. The response teams were comprised of both industry and public sector personnel jointly working together.
Anhydrous ammonia is used extensively in industrial refrigeration locations, power plants for pollution control, water treatment facilities, pharmaceutical industry, petrochemical industry and for fertilizers. It is also a building block for many valuable and needed chemicals and materials.
It was commented by several participants that this type of training is very important in not only handling ammonia daily, but instrumental in preparedness efforts in case of a release. Binder and Johnson stated that programs like this promote the effective coordination of response efforts with all stakeholders and the Atlanta area program is a benchmark model that could be used across the entire country for hazardous materials response training, cooperation and teamwork between industry and public sector personnel.
Program Coordinator Leo Eleuterius from Nordic Cold Storage, LLC commented that the commitment by all of the participants represents how a varied group of community people can come together and accomplish something of extra value to whole community. The overwhelming positive comments from all of the participants is most satisfying when you can see what this has meant to all. Increased safety awareness and understanding is a win-win situation for all.