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June 3, 2005

Safety Tips from the Local Emergency Planning Committee
LEPC Supports Haz-Mat Training Exercise

FULTON - Members of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) were recently invited to observe a hazardous-materials exercise hosted by Birds Eye Foods at their plant in Fulton. About 60 people participated in the exercise, which involved the Birds Eye team working closely with the three haz-mat response teams in the county.

"This was an opportunity for the county team and the two cities to work with private industry," LEPC Chair and Fulton City Fire Department Lt. Robert Sponable said. "It helps us all to be better prepared in case of an incident."

The exercise evolved around a simulated ammonia leak in a compressor at the Birds Eye plant.

"We appreciate the opportunity to drill with Birds Eye and the two city teams," said Al Heath, Oswego County Deputy Fire Coordinator for Special Operations. "It gives us an opportunity to integrate different accountability systems and other procedures."

In the drill scenario, the Birds Eye team initially called Fulton Fire Department for assistance. Fulton took over the incident command while working closely with Birds Eye personnel. As the scenario unfolded, the Fulton team called for assistance from the County and City of Oswego Fire Department haz-mat teams.

Birds Eye's emergency response team and the three haz-mat teams suited up in "Level A" encapsulating suits, which afford the highest level of protection from contact with hazardous chemicals. Team members were able to practice stopping the leak, communicate with each other and the incident command post, and practice decontamination procedures. Menter's Ambulance was on hand for medical evaluation and personnel emergency treatment.

"We invited the LEPC to encourage them to see how important their support of hazardous materials training is," Sponable said. "The LEPC has supported training for the county haz-mat team and organized its own exercises. We appreciate it, and we would like to continue the great working relationship between the LEPC, the county and city teams, and private industry.

"We also appreciate Birds Eye's support of hazardous materials planning and the LEPC," Sponable continued. "Birds Eye representatives Michael Richards and Sistine Callen are active members of the LEPC, and the plant has hosted one of our meetings. We appreciate their working with us to ensure safety for everyone."

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