Cass County first responders prepare for propane emergencies

Last Updated on July 2, 2023 by Cass County Emergency Management Agency

LOGANSPORT, IN – Cass County public safety personnel kicked off a rainy holiday weekend by training together to be better prepared for emergencies. Responders came together on July 1 to attend a full day hands on course on propane emergencies conducted by Responder Training Enterprises. This training covered topics including basic chemical properties and emergency response procedures, but also oriented responders to equipment just added to the emergency management HAZMAT arsenal.

Rocky Buffum, Director of the Emergency Management Agency and Chairman of the Local Emergency Planning Committee, explained he is excited to have the new equipment for a variety of reasons. “A few times a year we get a call for some type of propane container that has been damaged and releasing product. Containers range from small cylinders such as you might use on your home grill to large transport vehicles. Sometimes they are venting product, sometimes they are involved in fire when we get there. Depending on circumstances it can be an explosion hazard and necessitate evacuation.”

According to Emergency Management, training conducted included techniques such as container flaring and water injection. In the past, responders were sometimes stuck on scene for hours waiting for damaged containers to vent or burn off product. With the new equipment, containers can be emptied in a controlled manner eliminating the fire and explosion hazards faster and significantly reducing how long emergency units are tied to the scene. Not only are we making responders and citizens safer faster, we are getting emergency units back in service and available for the next call much faster.

The vender, Responder Training Enterprises, is led by owner and Senior Instructor Ron Huffman who conducts training across the country. Huffman is a retired emergency management agency and fire battalion chief from the New Castle area. He has been a first responder and propane industry worker since 1989.

Buffum stated he was glad EMA was able to acquire the equipment and conduct the training, but also emphasized the benefit of getting everyone together. “The Cass County Public Safety community is a very tight and very dedicated group. We often come together when something has gone wrong under less than ideal circumstances. It is great to spend time today learning and growing, learning new ways to work together for the common good and better serve our community.”

Participating agencies included the Cass County Emergency Management Agency, Lucurne Fire Department, Twelve Mile Fire Department, Logansport Fire Department, Cass County Fire District 1, New Waverly Fire Department, Young America Fire Department and Walton Community Fire Department.

Emergency Management extends a thank you to Logansport Fire Department and the City of Logansport for arranging classroom and practical training space, King Oil for providing propane and the Local Emergency Planning Committee for providing funding. Additional funding was provided from fees and citations assessed to spillers of hazardous materials in Cass County. No additional county tax dollars were requested in making this program possible.

About the Local Emergency Planning Committee

The Cass County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) organizes planning, training and exercises to increase hazardous materials preparedness. LEPCs are federally mandated and state funded. Membership includes representatives from elected government officials, fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, emergency management, health and public health, industry representatives, the media, and other community groups and organizations.

SOURCE: News release from Cass County Emergency Management Agency

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