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Hazmat Crews Response Process

WTVO / WQRF – It’s back to work for Chrysler workers tonight after a scare yesterday. A chemical accident created a Hazmat situation that Eyewitness News crew could smell even well outside the plant. The kind of potentially toxic situation Hazmat must constantly train for in an industrial area like ours.
WTVO / WQRF – Fortunately, no one was hurt in Tuesday’s chemical spill accident which closed down the Belvidere Chrysler Assembly plant for several hours.

Chrysler is just one of several plants in the Stateline where harsh chemicals are mixed daily.  That means virtually any industrial accident can quickly escalate into a crisis situation.

When chemical spills happen, the special Hazmat response unit is on site.  Stateline fire fighters have extensive training to go through to handle these situations.  David Worrell, Belvidere Fire Chief, explains, “They're coming up with new chemicals every day and that process of staying ahead of the curve is just on going."

And happen more often than you realize.  Worrell says, “I guess that 50/50. As far as fires versus chemical releases."

Matthew Knott is in charge of Hazmat training for our area and describes how intense the process is: “With Hazmat, what we do is our special teams train every weekend at an absolute minimum." 


They have to know all the monitoring equipment, hazardous material computer modeling, and of course the hazmat suit.  Chad Cunningham just recently completed the intense 176 hours of training to be a part of the crew: “Well, it's always nice to specialize in something to be able to offer a little bit more than…what's required of you here."

And even though Cunninham wasn't there for the Seward Nova-Kem explosion or the Rockford Levings Lake chemical leak, he knows all about them.  Knott says, “So a lot of the scenarios that we face in real world scenarios--you know, real world incidents--we put them back into a scenario base so that others can learn from those experiences too."
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