HAWTHORN – It will now be more efficient for local crews to respond to chemical spills in the area, thanks to a new permanently located HAZMAT trailer in Hawthorn.
On Thursday, Dec. 21, representatives from McCutcheon Enterprises, Inc. (MEI) delivered a fully-stocked HAZMAT emergency response trailer to its new home at the Hawthorn Fire Department. The trailer will be available for use by local emergency officials 24/7 in the event of a hazardous materials spill in Clarion or other surrounding counties.
“As the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association (PEMA) Act 165 HAZMAT provider for Clarion County, it is our pleasure to provide the county with this much needed resource,” a press release issued last week by MEI states, noting that staging the trailer in Hawthorn will provide Clarion County access to the proper resources to handle a HAZMAT situation in a reasonable response timeframe.
“Trailers like this will enable the county to respond and contain spill[s] efficiently and cost-effectively,” MEI communications professional Chad McCutcheon said in the release, thanking Clarion County EMA coordinator Randy Stahlman and the Clarion County EMA and LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) making the local trailer placement possible. “This trailer will enable our partnership to be as mutually beneficial as possible.”
According to McCutcheon and Stahlman, the trailer will be fully stocked with all the necessary equipment — such as hydrocarbon — to respond to and contain a hazardous materials spill anywhere in the county within minutes rather than hours.
“The equipment inside the trailer is versatile,” McCutcheon said, explaining that the supplies inside can be used to contain spills on the road, in water and on rail. “Local and county emergency crews can now respond to a hazardous situation in minutes and quickly contain the spill until it can be properly cleaned up.”
While MEI serves as the state Act 165 certified HAZMAT responder in 10 western Pennsylvania counties, McCutcheon noted that HAZMAT trailers have been strategically placed in only two other counties in addition to the one in Hawthorn.
With its proximity to the Red Bank Creek and other small runs that connect to waterways in Clarion, Emlenton, DuBois and eventually the Allegheny River, Stahlman said Hawthorn seemed like the “best location” for the trailer for a quick response time.
“Looking through history, we’ve had several hazardous material incidents along the Red Bank Creek in Clarion and Jefferson counties,” Stahlman said, adding that the new trailer will also be available to help with HAZMAT situations in surrounding counties if needed.
Stahlman continued the contents of the trailer will be completely paid for by LEPC chemical funds and at no cost to county taxpayers.
“No tax dollars will be spent on this,” he said, noting that the county will work together with MEI to ensure the trailer’s supplies are always restocked and in proper working order.
“This trailer is a testament to how public-private partnerships like ours work for the betterment of all,” McCutcheon said in the release, noting that MEI will not only replenish supplies at a wholesale cost so necessary resources will always be available in Clarion County, but will also continue to respond to all PEMA Act 165 calls when requested. “We’re excited about this, and look forward to continuing our relationship with Clarion County in the crucial role for many years to come.”
“I’m proud to be here today to aid Clarion County and continue our excellent relationship,” MEI HAZMAT coordinator Brian Feist agreed in the release. “This trailer enables both of us to collaborate our resources and protect and serve the environment and citizens of Clarion County.”
Local emergency officials echoed the sentiments of the McCutcheon representatives, expressing their own excitement to have the HAZMAT emergency trailer in the local community.
“This is wonderful for the community,” Hawthorn Fire Department president Les Aaron said.
“We always have to be ready for these kinds of situations, and this will help keep the local fire company active,” Hawthorn Fire Department Chief Mike Rearick added.