March 21, 2018
PFNW, Perma-Fix's Richland, Washington facility, hosted an emergency response drill on Wednesday, March 21st. Why hosted and not held? Because at the direction of Assistant General Manager and ESH&Q Manager Curt Cannon, it was a joint drill which also involved a combination of the Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick Fire Departments. "The drills are a requirement as part of our regulatory compliance and, whenever we can, we like to involve the local agencies," says Curt.
The drill involved a simulation in which a pair of employees entered a tank to perform clean out and survey operations and were later found unconscious inside it. Coordinated by PFNW responders, fire department responders were called rescue operations were undertaken to retrieve the entrants. Throughout the operation, Perma-Fix employee Jesse Romero, who is an actual on site Emergency Coordinator, as well as a Perma-Fix Low-Level Thermal Supervisor, choreographed the response, including the 911 call, air monitoring, incident scribe, and the initial retrieval operations that took place prior to the arrival of the fire department. Jesse worked closely with the collaborative departments to complete the rescue operation and render the incident safe and secure.
Both entrants were safely removed from the tanker without incident. Perma-Fix appointed observers to record the good and the bad, and were given the opportunity to share the observations with Jesse and his team and foster the continuous improvement always strives for at the facility. Not only did PFNW employees learn a few lessons from the 25 emergency responders representing the Tri-Cities, but the responders themselves were quick to point out that they also gained some new insights as well. Great job to all those involved!