Weatherford Democrat

Aledo ExtrA

September 16, 2013

County commissioners scope out Hazmat preparedness

By JUDY SHERIDAN

Marking September as Emergency Preparedness Month, Parker County commissioners met last week at the Hudson Oaks Public Safety Building, beginning their regular session with an overview of the sophisticated, high-dollar equipment used for rare but high-risk hazardous materials events.

Parker County Fire Marshal Shawn Scott, who gave the presentation, ushered members of the court and others through a yellow decon tent set up in the building’s parking lot.

The tent, capable of decontaminating up to 50 people per hour, uses hot water from the outside and can adjust the temperature of the contained air, he said. Victims are brought in, disrobed, scrubbed and given a government-issued trash bag to wear.

The water is collected and sent for treatment afterward.

Inside the tent, Parker County Emergency Response Team members dressed in the two suits they usually wear, which cost between $90 and $250, Scott said, depending on the level of protection needed. During events, the seams of the suits are sealed with chemical tape.

A level A suit — fully encapsulated with contained air — can run as high as $1,100 and is good for just one use, he said.

Scott also pointed out non-sparking tool kits — made of aluminum and glass — and a portable mass spectrometer, which can identify up to 400,000 different chemicals or determine the makeup of an unknown chemical.

The purpose of Hazmat is containment and confinement, Scott said, not cleanup.

“It’s only to stop the emergency and minimize the impact on the general public,” he said. “A third party does the cleanup and disposal; whoever caused the incident takes care of that.”

 Combating hazardous materials is expensive, Scott said, and most of the county’s equipment has been purchased with grant funding over time.

In addition, he said, nuclear waste is transported through Parker County, so the state replaces and calibrates the county’s equipment on an annual basis. 

A bigger issue is manpower, Scott said.

“We focus on an emergency response team, a manpower pool from the different fire departments through the emergency service services districts,” he said. “When there is an event, that pool comes together to facilitate whatever the need might be.

“It prevents all the different fire departments from having to purchase the same equipment and do the same training.”

Scott said emergency response members are required to complete hours of training each year. 

“These events don’t have a high frequency, but when they do happen, they make the news and have a very large impact on our communities,” he said.

Text Only
Aledo ExtrA
  • IMG_7134.JPG Despite cold, peach crops looking rosy

    Parker County peach growers won’t know for sure for a few more days, but as of Wednesday, one day after April temperatures plummeted into the low 30s, they’re predicting a good, even rosy, peach harvest for this year’s Parker County Peach Festival.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Aledo ISD "Shattered Dreams" and parent workshop

    Aledo ISD high school students will get a taste of what it’s like to be in a car accident with fatalities Thursday, April 17th, and Friday, April 18th, as they participate in “Shattered Dreams,” a program designed to save lives. A parent workshop about the topics addressed in the program will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 17.

    April 16, 2014

  • Hitting the trail for MS

    STEPHENVILLE – The Cowboy Capital MS Trail Ride is a fun-filled event dedicated to raising funds that support national research into the cause and cure for Multiple Sclerosis as well as provide programs to more than 9,000 people in the Lone Star Chapter area whose lives are touched by MS.

    April 16, 2014

  • Parker County man killed in single-vehicle wreck

    A 60-year-old Parker County man was killed around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in a one-vehicle crash in the 2100 block of FM Road 3325, also known as Farmer Road.

    April 15, 2014

  • hiebert_kim.jpg Aledo City Council Place 4 candidates for May 10 election

    Early voting for the May 10 general election begins April 28. Following is some information gathered from the candidates for the Place 4 Aledo City Council seat. Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall is running for re-election unopposed.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Jean Bailey photo.jpg Aledo City Council Place 2 candidates

    Early voting for the May 10 general election begins April 28. Following is some information gathered from the candidates running for the Aledo City Council Place 2 seat. Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall is running for re-election unopposed.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • USAF photo.jpg USAF heroes to Ride for Heroes

    The 12th annual Ride for Heroes bike ride this Saturday in Aledo will include some VIPs: members of the United States Air Force Cycling Team.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • FM 5 intersection makeover

    City of Willow Park officials were recently told that a planned reconstruction of the intersection of Interstate 20 frontage roads and FM Road 5 now has funding from the state and is moving ahead.

    April 15, 2014

  • DSC_0074.JPG Bearcat Bootcamp holds successful fundraiser

    Bearcat Bootcamp, an Aledo fitness organization, held its first 1-mile Fun Run and Back the Bearcats 5K race April 5.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing held for Annetta Crime Control District

    The Crime Control and Prevention District proposed for the Town of Annetta — which voters have the chance to accept or reject in the May 10 election — moved forward last week with an April 7 public hearing.

    April 15, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video