CHEMTREC awards three volunteer fire departments $10,000 each

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CHEMTREC, in partnership with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), has announced three NVFC members will be awarded $10,000 each through the 2022 CHEMTREC Hazmat Emergencies Local Preparedness (HELP) Award.

Launched in 2019, the award aims to help volunteer fire departments enhance preparedness and strengthen response capabilities as it relates to hazmat events. To date it has provided a total of $115,000 to 12 departments to support their hazmat response efforts. This year’s recipients are: Genoa Volunteer Fire Department (Texarkana, AR), Gilt Edge (TN) Volunteer Fire Department and West Hancock Fire Rescue (Pearlington, MS).

Genoa Volunteer Fire Department is an all-volunteer department located in southwest Arkansas dedicated to taking care of its expanding rural community. Most recently, the town saw the derailment of eight railcars and several hazmat fires involving 18-wheelers. Its volunteer firefighters need additional training and equipment to handle these potentially devastating situations.

With the CHEMTREC HELP Award, the department will bring hazmat training to its district and train volunteers on how to better respond to potential hazmat incidents. It also plans to purchase the necessary personal protection equipment, kits, and a decontamination station.

The volunteers of the Gilt Edge Volunteer Fire Department advocates of hazmat preparedness. The town faces hazmat threats on the roads, in their farms, and on the water: pesticide and fuel spills occur on land, chlorine and ammonia are used in large quantities nearby, and large river barges pass through carrying hazardous materials.

The department has planned to use the CHEMTREC HELP Award to purchase an enclosed trailer to haul its hazmat equipment, as well other supplies such as absorbent pads, overpack drums, and decontamination equipment.

West Hancock Fire Rescue is a tight-knit community in southern Mississippi which faces hazmat threats daily and responds to an average of 300 hazmat calls annually. The volunteer-run fire department is responsible for miles of an interstate highway that sees motor vehicle accidents involving semi-trucks with chemical and fuel spills. Additionally, it provides primary fire and hazmat response for a nearby industrial park.

The department said that it plans to use the CHEMTREC HELP Award to further hazmat training initiatives for its personnel and purchase up-to-date hazmat gear and supplies. Its ultimate goal is to provide on-site coverage for the aforementioned industrial park.

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