WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published July 23, 2012, 09:18 PM

GF Firefighters Learn Hazmat Training

Grand Forks Firefighters and first responders from across the region took on some new training this afternoon. They learned how to respond to incidents involving anhydrous ammonia on the railway.

GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ-TV) - Grand Forks Firefighters and first responders from across the region took on some new training this afternoon.

They learned how to respond to incidents involving anhydrous ammonia on the railway. For the Grand Forks Fire Department -- railroads aren't something they're used to.

But today, firefighters were able to better familiarize themselves with the tanks so in the instance of an anhydrous ammonia spill or explosion, they're the ones, BNSF count on.

"If this thing is fully involved in a fire just let her go and protect the exposures around it," said a BNSF safety instructor.

Today's training for firefighters with the Grand Forks Fire Department, was a little out of their element.

"It's not low voltage, it's 430V AC there," said an instructor.

"What we have is liquid pipes along the top of the car, and it's like a straw," said another instructor.

"This is a little bit unfamiliar to us so the training is all positive," said Captain, Rick Aamot.

A different side of emergency response, and some say more dangerous.

"A bigger instant than just like a house fire," said a Firefighter.

"More chemical and inhalation hazards where a house fire would be burn hazards, collapsing," said Senior Firefighter, Scott Nelson.

It's even night and day from their usual gear.

"The gear that we respond in is different just the equipment that we use is different," said Nelson.

The BNSF says the way first responders approach the situation is vital to staying safe.

"From a distance the responders need to be able to identify what the material is ok in this case anhydrous ammonia know the first steps in responding to it and be able to protect themselves, because if they can't protect themselves, they can't protect the community," said Assistant Director of Hazardous Materials for the BNSF, Patrick Brady.

Although, Patrick Brady, the Assistant Director of Hazardous Materials says in North Dakota, anhydrous ammonia emergencies don't happen often, it's still a dangerous situation that needs expert response.

"A little liquid goes a long ways," said Brady.

"I think it's pretty safe to say you don't want to put water on there, correct?" asked a safety instructor.

And firefighters say, after today they'll be ready if a situation presents itself.

"We'll be prepared," said a Firefighter.

The Grand Forks Fire Department goes through training like this a couple times a year, but today was the first time for some firefighters.

Tags: