Ponoka firefighters train for hazardous spills

Keeping the environment healthy and protected is on the minds of many in this day and age and Ponoka and the province of Alberta are working together to keep the water and land safe by learning how to deal with emergencies.

  • Nov. 5, 2008 6:00 a.m.
The Ponoka Fire Department underwent training at the Battle River as part of the Spill Response Program.

The Ponoka Fire Department underwent training at the Battle River as part of the Spill Response Program.

Keeping the environment healthy and protected is on the minds of many in this day and age and Ponoka and the province of Alberta are working together to keep the water and land safe by learning how to deal with emergencies.

Through a program created by the Alberta Environment Support and Emergency Response Team (ASERT), Ponoka is one of the six chosen communities in the province that has received a spill response equipment trailer to help deal with emergencies.

The trailer was delivered to the Ponoka Fire Hall on Sept. 26 and is equipped for spills on land and water. Recently local volunteers have been trained to use the equipment in case of an emergency situation.

On Nov. 1 members of the Ponoka Fire Department traveled to the Battle River for some hands on training on how to deal with a spill.

Fire chief Ted Dillon was impressed with the training and believes it is beneficial to have this resource in central Alberta.

“It went really well, it was a great day and it worked out great,” said Dillon. “We learned a lot and hopefully we will be able to apply our skills properly if called upon.”

The spill response units include 400 feet of containment boom for spills that pose a threat to Alberta’s waterways as well as many other supplies.

During training the volunteers learned how to use the boom to hold a spill and protect the shores.

The training session was directed by Trever Miller, from SWAT Consulting Inc. Miller taught and directed 17 volunteers during the training session.

The training included time in the classroom, equipment setup, scene structure and layout, dry land setup and deployment, spill scenario deployment and demobilization.

Dillon feels that the volunteers have a strong hold on what they were taught and says that the spill response will be incorporated into regular training.

“It will be an ongoing thing,” said Dillon. “We will always be training for that, as we do all other fire training.”

Dillon believes that the training was valuable and could be a great asset to Ponoka if an emergency ever was to occur.

“It’s another tool that we have,” he said. “We always get called to respond, for example if a truck flips over, etc, now we have the tools to deal with these situations better.”