First responders prepare for the unexpected in exercise drill

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Chesapeake, OH (WOWK) – First responders risk their lives everyday to keep us safe and secure, and part of their training involves preparing for the unexpected.

On Saturday morning at the Collins Career Technical Center a group of firefighters trained for a scenario that happens less than one- percent. 

Firefighters from multiple agencies in Ohio gathered to fight multiple blazes Saturday in intense heat, and luckily for them it was just a training exercise.

“We are training for an emergency at an industrial site, at a residential site, or in transport of liquid propane,” said David Graham, Captain of the Proctorville Fire and Rescue.

The Propane Emergency class is sponsored by the Lawrence County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and Arrick’s Propane, who donated about 500 gallons of fuel for the event. 

“We want to keep the community safe. We want to make sure the firefighters know what they are doing, and that (propane for the exercise) should be one less thing they should have to worry about,” said Nathan Davis, branch manger Arrick’s propane in Ironton.

Graham said fighting a propane fire is different, because instead of trying to put it out, firefighters redirect the blaze with two hose teams and turn off the fire’s fuel source on the propane tank.

Courtesy: Rome Fire & Rescue

“The water could put it out potentially, but the reason it has to be shut off is because it is a continuous fuel source,” said Davis.

Graham said for an intense fire a third hose team will be brought in, and their hose will be used as umbrella to prevent the plume of the fire from circling back over them.

Graham and Davis both said the chances of a firefighter ever having to address a propane fire is actually very rare, which makes the training that much more important.

“Because we never know what the next call is going to be. It might be helping EMS with a lift assists, getting someone loaded, or it could be a major tanker roll-over,” said Graham.

The fire captain said a cut, ruptured line or an accident involving a tanker or a delivery truck can cause a propane fire, and his 19 years as a firefighter he has never had to respond to one, but if he does he will be ready.

The Propane Emergency class has been going on for about 10 years off and on

About ten crews and 35 firefighters participated in it this year: Proctorville, Fayetteville, Rome, Chesapeake, Burlington, Harrison, Ceredo, and Gallipolis .

They also had assistance from the Lawrence County EMS for the event.

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