EMA expanding capabilities thanks to generosity of Koch

Last Updated on June 8, 2022 by Cass County Emergency Management Agency

WALTON, IN —  Cass County responders will be safer when responding to hazardous materials incidents thanks to a gift from the Koch Companies Community Fund. Thanks to the championing of the effort by staff at the Walton Koch facility, Cass County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) received a grant of $5,871.00 to provide for the acquisition of new monitoring equipment.

The new equipment includes a Photoionization Detector (PID) which EMA does not currently have in its inventory. Rocky Buffum, Cass County EMA Director, described the uses of the device.

“Many chemical emergencies involve hazards we cannot see, and it is not safe to use other senses to attempt to detect. There are a number of chemicals in use and transported thru the county our current detection equipment does not have the ability to see or quantify. This new addition to the EMA monitoring arsenal allows us to quantify hazards we previously had to call outside agencies to help with.”

This impacts personnel and public safety in a number of ways. Being able to quickly and accurately determine levels of hazards present determines the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed by responders, the evacuation or shelter in place zones for residents, and further can help to verify when a situation has been successfully mitigated or identify persistent hazards. The equipment also has potential for other applications which have not yet been fully explored, such as indicating possible use of accelerants at fire scenes when accelerant detection K9s are extremely delayed or unavailable.

This opportunity was realized thanks to Koch’s involvement in the community.

Buffum stated “Koch is active with our Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). At my first meeting after starting as EMA Director I was describing our current limitations and my wish list for things I wanted to bring to the county. The Koch representative indicated they might be able to assist and helped me thru the process of requesting the funding. I am thankful for their continued involvement as well as their commitment to making our citizens and the responders who serve them safer when responding to chemical emergencies.”

The new equipment is expected to be received and in service within the next two weeks.

SOURCE: News release from Cass County Emergency Management Agency