County hazmat team prepares for disaster

 
Submitted by Anthony Rodkey
Updated 3/14/2018 2:28 PM
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  • Lake and McHenry County hazardous material technicians work to mitigate a chlorine gas leak at the Vernon Hills Aquatic Center during the first 2018 county hazmat drill.

    Lake and McHenry County hazardous material technicians work to mitigate a chlorine gas leak at the Vernon Hills Aquatic Center during the first 2018 county hazmat drill. Courtesy of Anthony Rodkey

Countryside Fire District partnered with the Vernon Hills Park District recently to host the first 2018 Lake and McHenry County Hazmat Team drill.

The scenario brought 40 hazardous material technicians from 19 different fire departments within Lake and McHenry counties.

"The drill had three phases to it," said Tony Rodkey, coordinator for the drill. "The first was a chlorine liquid leak at the main chlorine water tanks located exterior to the pump building set off by a massive purge, causing patrons to have symptoms such as eye irritation and respiratory trouble.

"The pool area is evacuated. Once the leak was mitigated, the second phase of the drill identified an interior chlorine gas cylinder leaking, which requires a specific set of tools. The third phase of the drill was a 'Man Down,' and utilized a TURK Device, which allows the hazmat techs to carry tools on a stokes basket into the hot zone, and in the event personnel does need evacuation assistance, the stokes basket and TURK Device are set for immediate departure from the hot zone."

"The weather was cool and more comfortable due to all the gear necessary to enter this type of hazardous environment," Hazmat Leader John Sherwood of Countryside Fire District said.

"The drill included great support from the MESS Canteen Team, Hazmat 4 from Lake Forest Fire Department, the Libertyville Fire Department Squad, Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire District Engine and Chick-fil-A for providing breakfast for the drill."

For more information, go to www.countrysidefire.com.

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