Top News

Prepared for the worst: Northern Pulp hosts training for a chemical spill

The protective suits were washed with soap and water before members removed them as they would be in a real situation during a mock training exercise at Northern Pulp on Saturday, Sept. 29.
The protective suits were washed with soap and water before members removed them as they would be in a real situation during a mock training exercise at Northern Pulp on Saturday, Sept. 29. - Adam MacInnis

Mock scenario prepares Pictou County first responders on what to do at industrial site

ABERCROMBIE POINT, N.S.

First responders put their skills at dealing with an industrial emergency to the test on Saturday, Sept. 29 with a mock simulation at Northern Pulp.

Northern Pulp has an emergency response team on site that is trained to deal with everything from a fire to a chemical leak, but once a year they bring in the volunteer firefighters from surrounding departments that could be called to help with a major incident and run through a simulated accident.

For this particular training exercise they were going through the steps that would be required if there was a chlorine leak at the mill. Billy Kontuk, deputy chief of the emergency response team at Northern Pulp explained that they were going through all the steps from discovering a leak, checking to ensure radios were working, repairing the leak, ventilating the building and ensuring that the building was safe for people to return.

While no real chemicals were used in the simulation, those taking part were suited up in Class A environmental protection suits and even scrubbed down afterward with soap and water, as would be required if they were in fact exposed to chlorine.

In addition to Northern Pulp’s own department, the New Glasgow Hazmat unit, Abercrombie Fire Department, Pictou Fire Department and Alma Fire Department also took part.

Those are the fire departments that would be called in to assist in a real emergency Kontuk said and he believes it’s important for them to have an idea of what the plant and facility is laid out like and what the company has for equipment and training.

 

“It brings comfort to them,” Kontuk said. “Nobody wants to come to a place of this size and not know. It’s a maze to get in here.”

After the firefighters went through the steps on site, Kontuk said they were planning to have a debriefing on what went well and what could be improved on.

Recent Stories