KAWARTHA LAKES-When a propane truck overturned last February near Omemee, some members of the City of Kawartha Lakes Fire Department say there was some confusion over how to handle it. “It had a leak and the propane was leaking and there was some confusion from the get go with even civilians on scene, a lot of panic involved, and the first arriving first responders were not familiar on how to handle the scene.” Tim Groen, Captain Station 7, CKL Fire Department told Kawartha 411.
Groen, who is also a propane truck driver, was on his way home from work when the call came in. Being a firefighter he decided to see if he could help. “I happened to be there and through my work at British Empire fuels it was not quite as panicky for me, even as for our own fire service attending, they had never attended that kind of incident before so we decided that a training session with ERAC is definitely warranted.” Green recalls.
ERAC stands for Emergency Response Assistance Canada, a non-profit, emergency preparedness and response organization. They assist oil and gas companies all across the country when there is an accident. They were called in to deal with the fuel leak near Omemee. “We are well trained in bulk carrying on the highway or railcars, ” Jim Houghton, Alternate Team Leader ERAC told Kawartha 411. “We have specialized equipment to deal with the fire, we are making sure the process is going smoothly and being done correctly and we transfer fuel out of the trucks.” They are are approved by Transport Canada.
The training was sponsored by British Empire Fuels in Bobcaygeon. “We are travelling these roads everyday and all of our fellow companies delivering propane, we really rely on Kawartha Lakes Fire Service and its the least we could do to train these guys so if one of our trucks end up in an accident then they are handling it properly.” Groen says.
Greg Whyte, Owner of British Empire says, “I feel this is very important to give fire service the confidence they need to handle a scene involving propane.”
The seminar included learning where they emergency shut off’s are on a propane truck, how to stop the flow of gas from a fuel vehicle and where to find important information about the truck and what its carrying. “For first responders we don’t get to attend accidents of this kind of magnitude very often thankfully but it’s important for us to know how to handle them properly.”
The sessions continue tonight at the Kawartha Lakes Training Centre on Cameron Road.