RIVERSIDE – Firefighters and other public safety officials from throughout Riverside County today will test their ability to swiftly and effectively respond to a massive chemical spill triggered by a train derailment.
The Countywide Hazmat Operations Group — CHOG — will drill all morning long outside the city’s Emergency Operations Center at 3085 Lawrence St.
According to Riverside Fire Department Division Chief Mitch Wesche, 80 personnel will be on hand to simulate responding to a ”rail car/chemical identification scenario.”
”All participants will be dressed in hazmat suits and firefighter gear,” Wesche said. ”Rescue personnel from area emergency response agencies will assess the dangers of the situation and then mitigate punctures in the (overturned) tanker.”
According to Wesche, first responders will react to a ”dangerous release” of ethanol and chlorine gas.
”Joint exercises such as these are an excellent opportunity to increase regional coordination and for agencies to become familiar with each other’s resources and capabilities,” he said.
The CHOG simulation will include teams from the Corona, Hemet and Riverside fire departments; personnel from the Riverside County Environmental, Public Health and Sheriff’s departments; Riverside police, members of the California Air National Guard; and FBI agents.