XTO employees gather to discuss the training exercise.
AJ O'Neil plays an injured person at the gas well training.
XTO employee Mike Cox turns off the gas to the well.
Haz-mat team members, Det. John Barnett, Deputy Shaun Bell, and Deputy Jarod Curtis help carry the victim from the gas well site.
EMTs Mark Reynolds and Gina Sitterud place the mock victim in the ambulance.
XTO Energy teamed up with the Emery County Sheriff's Office Emergency Response team to practice an emergency scenario at one of the gas wells north of Huntington.
In the hypothetical scenario, three teenagers were playing on the gas well pump which goes up and down. Two victims fell off the pump and one was fatal and the other injured. The suspect panicked and drove over a transmission pipe line causing a severe gas leak. The suspect abandoned the vehicle and ran into town for help.
The authorities were notified of the incident and rescuers made their way to the scene. The first order of business was for XTO to get the gas shut off to all of the wells above the well where the pipeline had been disrupted. Mike Cox for XTO worked on getting the gas shut off. This left only the gas well where the accident had occurred contributing gas to the leak.
The hazardous material team from the sheriff's office suited up in their protective gear to attempt to get into the gas well to rescue the injured man. One of the victims had succumbed to his injuries so he was left at the gas well until the area was safe to enter.
The rescue team in full protective gear reached the injured man and brought him out to the waiting ambulance. A team from the Huntington and Cleveland fire departments were on scene to assist as well as the safety team from XTO.
Emery County Sheriff LaMar Guymon said, "Trainings of these types bring all parties involved together to work out any problems that may arise in a real emergency situation. If everyone knows their role in the event of a real accident, the rescue operation will go much smoother. We hope we never have any accidents but trainings of these types will help ensure the best possible outcome if we do have an accident. Our incident commanders Sgt. Tom Harrison and Capt. Kyle Ekker just keep getting better and better as we do these exercises. Bret Mills is our technical support and these exercises give us a chance to test our communications equipment as well as test our other haz-mat equipment and make sure everything works. It's a win-win situation all the way around. We plan on expanding our training to coal mines and anyone else who is interested. We have worked with the power plants in the past and will expand our training there also. We have worked with the school district and held emergency training in each of the schools."
The rescue team in their full protective gear practiced breathing while on the oxygen tanks. One of the dangers with being fully suited is the risk of overexertion. This was a cool day which made having the hot and heavy gear on easier to handle. State emergency preparedness officer for the SouthEastern Region, Martin Wilson was on hand to record all of the vital signs for each of the members of the team. After they came from the scene of the gas well, their vitals were taken again to see if any of the rescuers were in stressful physical conditions.
Ray Trujillo was the supervisor from XTO Energy.
Sgt. Harrison said, "This exercise went really well and we learned a lot and I think XTO learned a lot. We worked together really well and we are real pleased with the result. We found things we can do better and XTO found things they could do better. XTO is just great to work with, they do what they can to try to help us out. Their main safety worker saw things they need to work out and he is going to meet with XTO workers. Our Code Red system worked really well. We used Code Red to contact all of XTOs employees and we simulated the evacuation of West Huntington because of the gas leak. We tested our Code Red to just make calls in the evacuation area. We didn't actually place any calls. Code Red worked well to test our equipment and capabilities. I just can't say enough about XTO they really bent over backwards to help us. They are a good ally."
Sheriff Guymon said he wants to make everyone aware of the opportunity to hear from Lt. Col. Grossman on Dec. 15 from 4-8 p.m. at the Emery High Auditorium. This will be a free seminar presented by the Emery County Sheriff's Office and the Emery County School District and will feature retired Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, United States Army speaking on preparing for school attacks, preventing school violence, school lock down and critical incident stress. Lt. Col. Grossman is an internationally recognized scholar, soldier, and expert in the field of human aggression and the roots of violence and crime. His books include the Pulitzer Prize nominated book on killing, as well as on combat, and stop teaching our kids to kill.