After several months of planning, firefighters and emergency responders
converged in 3 Maine locations during the month of August to participate
in a Fuel Tank Truck Rollover training classes. The classes were organized
at the request of the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) using funds
from the Maine State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). Hazardous
materials specialists from Maine department of Environmental Protection
provided instruction, while the local Fire Departments and the County
Emergency Response Commissions provided key local assistance.
Working closely with the Fire Departments from Kezar Falls and Farmington
and also with the Waldo County Emergency Response Commission, the Maine
Joint Environmental Training Coordinating Committee organized three
training sessions and handled local logistics. The target audience for
this training included first responders, fire department personnel, HAZMAT
teams, shippers and transporters of hazardous materials, and personnel
responsible for enforcement and inspection of commercial vehicles.
Representing three regional Maine Department of Environmental Protection
offices, Tom Varney and Nathan Thompson of Bangor, Carl Allen of Presque
Isle and Peter Blanchard of Augusta taught the sessions. These four Oil
and Hazardous Materials Specialists have a combined experience of more
than 60 years in responding to hazardous situations including oil and
chemical spills from damaged transport vehicles.
With response to thousands of hazardous incidents behind them, the DEP
presenters reviewed tank construction, spec plates, placards, labels,
chemical definitions, reporting responsibilities and recovery protocols.
They also emphasized the importance of assessing the problem, spill
containment, establishing safety zones, grounding and bonding the
vehicles, drilling & off-loading, and finally protocol for responder
While the majority of training took place in the classroom, participants
also benefited from the contribution of a number of vehicles donated for
For display and “up–close” observation, fuel and propane transport
vehicles were contributed by Webber Energy, C.N. Brown of Cornish,
Thompson Oil Company of Waldo, and Twitchell Fuel Company of Farmington.
Monson Companies, Clean Harbors Environmental Services and General Alum &
Chemical Company donated chemical transport vehicles. All of these
vehicles allowed participants the opportunity for hands on review of
valves, piping, structure, spec plates and safety features, while Webber
energy also supplied the shell of a home delivery truck for drilling
Many participants enjoyed the “hands-on” portion of the class, and found
it particularly beneficial to closely examine the vehicle construction and
safety devices, as well as to learn about grounding and bonding, vehicle
drilling and real life experiences from the variety of instructors. Many
said they would share the knowledge gained with other firefighters.
All participants were given an incident checklist, placard and label
charts, a printed copy of the classroom presentation material and related
emergency response books.
According to Leeann Hanson, JETCC’s Training Coordinator, “This training
would not have been possible without a collaborative effort between the
state agencies, the intensive support from the fuel and chemical transport
companies, and the local assistance of the Fire Department and Emergency
MEMA & SERC provided the funding, Maine DEP offered the instruction,
private companies contributed the vehicles and JETCC handled the
registration and behind the scenes details assuring that all arrived at
the appointed location as planned.