|Deputy Casey Alton leads the way as the emergency response team prepares to make entry into the plant.|
The Emery County Sheriff's Office emergency response team and the Hunter Power Plant recently teamed up to participate in a mock training exercise for an emergency situation.The Emery team also contains four doctors who work as first responders addressing the medical needs of possible victims in emergency situations.
During the mock disaster at the plant, the entire power plant was evacuated to simulate a possible emergency. Preparing for the unknown is part of the Emery team mission. Never knowing exactly the type of emergency which might take place at the power plant, the team planned for a bit of everything.
Possible emergencies might include: terrorist attack, fire, earthquake, accidents, hostage situation and other unforeseen events.
The Emery team discovered the power plant is a very big place where a lot of different scenarios could work out. The team searched a portion of the power plant and learned where the danger zones are in regard to power production. Learning the layout of the plant was also an important step to the emergency response effort.
The Hunter plant, as do other plants, have their own safety teams and safety classes are held on a regular basis. Kirk Danzer is the safety administrator at the Hunter Plant. Les Thompson heads up the HERT team at the plant. Members of the Hunter team are also members of the Local Emergency Planning Committee sponsored by the Emery County Sheriff's Office which meets monthly and hosts an emergency fair each year to increase emergency awareness in the community.
The emergency scenario at the training included simulated accidents and implementing the evacuation plan which is in place at the plant.
"Practicing what you've talked about is an important step in preparing for an emergency," said Sheriff Lamar Guymon. "You can talk all you want, but how you handle an emergency is about training and practice for these types of situations.
"We feel this training was excellent to help the power plant to understand what our emergency team is capable of and how much they can rely on us in an emergency situation. It also increased our awareness about how well prepared the plant is for these situations. Coordinating with the plant personnel was crucial in the success of this exercise.
"No one knows the insides of these plants as well as those who work there every day and their assistance in helping our team was essential. Power plants are big targets and terrorists know they are essential to our way of life. Learning the layout of the plant and keeping unwanted visitors out of there is an important step in the continued safe operation of these facilities.
"It was especially helpful for their personnel to point out the safety hazards to our deputies who aren't familiar with the inner workings of the plant. The plant already has a good safety program in place and it's our job to try to enhance safety practices which are already in place. I'm really glad we had a chance to participate in this training.
"We learned a lot about what we're ready to do and where we aren't prepared and what we need to work on in the future. This was good for both of our organizations. We thoroughly evaluated the scenario to see where improvements can be made," said Sheriff Guymon.
Hunter Plant Manager Mark Mansfield is very supportive of the training exercises held at the plant and safety is a big priority at the plant.