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.
By JUDY SHERIDAN
- Aledo ExtrA
Water park burglar sought
Weatherford and Hudson Oaks police are requesting the public’s assistance in catching a burglar who broke into Splash Kingdom Water Park in Hudson Oaks earlier this month.
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Aledo ISD superintendent Derek Citty is moving forward with plans backed by the school board in May — plans to secure two school sites in the Morningstar subdivision, slated for the corner of Old Weatherford Road and FM Road 3225 in the City of Fort Worth’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
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Corey Kiser and Riley Sartain, members of Aledo High School’s state champion softball team, honored by trustees last week, are to blame for the 10-3 tattoo on the finger of their coach, Jeff Lemons.
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Richard Frederick Adams Sr., 62, arrested July 21, faces two charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, a first-degree felony.
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Stephen Watson, interim chief of Emergency Services District No. 1, briefed the Aledo City Council on improvements to the city’s fire protection — including the purchase of a site for a new fire station — in Thursday night’s Aledo City Council session.
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The Aledo ISD School Board affirmed a policy delegating the hiring of most school personnel to the administration by a 4-1 margin last week, with trustees Jay Stringer, David Tillman, Hoyt Harris and Steve Bartley voting in favor and trustee Bobby Rigues arguing that the board should retain the responsibility.
Aledo coffee shop helps support the troops
HUDSON OAKS — Wild West Splash Kingdom was the host of military members and military supporters the night of Saturday, July 19, during ‘Salute the Troops,’ sponsored by Holy Grounds Coffee and Gifts in Aledo and Ducerus College Planning.
Calendar of events
Holy Grounds Coffee & Gifts, at 108 Jearl Street, is hosting a series of outdoor movies in their parking lot at 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays through Aug. 23.
Admission is free and feature drinks are half price during the films. “The Amazing Spiderman” is Aug. 2, followed by “Tangled” on Aug. 9, “The Lego Movie” on Aug. 16 and “The Avengers” on Aug. 23.
For more information, call 817-440-7770.
A Purple Heart County
County Judge Mark Riley and Parker County commissioners proclaimed Parker County to be a “Purple Heart County” Monday, honoring local veterans and their families in a special ceremony held in the second floor courtroom of the historic courthouse.
Suspicious house fire under investigation
The Weatherford fire marshal says a fire that damaged a house and killed two puppies Wednesday night is being investigated as a suspicious fire and a suspect is in jail on unrelated charges.
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