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RFD trains for chemical spills

Rochester firefighters prepare for the worst as part of their hazardous material training.

Today, they focused on responding to chlorine and anhydrous ammonia leaks.

These are materials commonly used in cleaning and fertilizer products.

The simulated emergency involved a vehicle crashing into a tanker transporting dangerous chemicals.

It gave responders a chance to rehearse their victim rescue and decontamination procedures.

Captain Brett Knapp knows the importance of honing their rescue skills.

“The biggest and initial concern that we have when we’re dealing with these products is that it’s an inhalation hazard,” Knapp said. “And so it’s very toxic, and breathing these chemicals usually can lead to death.”

Training for such a disaster is important because there are large quantities of anhydrous ammonia and chlorine in Rochester and parts of Southeast Minnesota.

If a spill occurs, firefighters have advised anyone exposed to wash it off their skin and get upwind of the chemicals as quick as possible to avoid inhalation.


Kilat Fitzgerald

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