OTTAWA — The Putnam County Office of Public Safety held a full-scale hazardous materials drill Wednesday evening.
Fire and emergency medical service sirens could be heard in Ottawa as safety service agencies responded to an ‘incident’ that included a car striking a diesel tanker near the Putnam County Fairgrounds.
The drill was held to meet state requirements for the Local Emergency Planning Committee yearly mandate. Additionally it met requirements to open the Emergency Operation Center to test the activation and control methods.
Evaluators were sent to the scene and at the EOC to find any concerns or improvements that could be made when safety services agencies are responding to this type of incident.
Responding agencies included Ottawa Fire Department, Glandorf Fire Department, Putnam County Hazardous Materials Response Team, Ottawa-Glandorf EMS, Ottawa Police Department and Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
Because the incident involved spillage of 100 gallons of diesel into the parking lot, the hazmat team was called to respond. Additionally, the diesel came into contact with ammonium nitrate fertilizer creating a “potential for a small explosion."
Area high school students served as victims and evacuees during the drill. The Red Cross Shelter was also opened at the Trinity United Methodist Church.
Rich Lauffer from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency said it is important during a simulation to do things as you would normally do them.
“We have had to deal with floods, wind events, tornados and small hazmat events,” said Steve Odenweller, director of the Putnam County Office of Public Safety. “We know the drills are important. We can always learn things.”
Before the start of the incident, training was provided for incident commanders in the Ohio EMA’s Web EOC system.
The statewide computer system links Putnam County to other counties and to the state. It provides live data on what is happening at an incident and also allows a county to request assistance from other safety services within the county or from another location in the state if needed.