Local chemical plant partners with emergency responders to conduct emergency preparedness drill

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- In cases of emergency, panic usually ensues. One of the only ways to prepare for an organized emergency response is practice.

"The safety and health of our employees, our community, and our environment is paramount," said Mark Farley, BASF Huntsville's site director.

The potential for an emergency is often unlikely, but always possible. BASF recognized the importance of preparing for one...just in case.

Employees worked with local emergency responders Thursday morning to simulate an emergency-- starting with a planned 911 call.

"The alarms went off, our employees sheltered in place," Farley said. "We took roll call, and then our HAZMAT team started mobilizing and attacked the incident."

In this case, the simulated emergency was a chemical spill, so, Huntsville Fire and Rescue suited up and went to work just like they would have in the case of a real emergency.

"Being able to come out and train and get to know each other, find out what each other's capabilities are, and being able to work as a team is very critical to our mission," noted Capt. Wesley Ogle with Huntsville Fire and Rescue.

During this emergency drill, responders focused on three main priorities-- life safety, containing the leak, and protecting the environment.

"In a lot of cases we'll know the information, but the decision makers aren't getting the information in an efficient manner," Capt. Ogle said.

This drill served its purpose of emergency preparation and working out the issues.

"It's important for us to understand what our role is in case it happens," Farley said.

Hoping it doesn't happen-- but prepared if it does.