S.A.D.S. Exercise 2003
Sunday, October 26th at 8:35 in the morning a car attempting to
pass a tank truck in the eastbound lanes of the Bluewater Bridge,
lost control and slammed into the tanker, sliding under the tank
frame and trapping the two occupants of the car. The tanker was
loaded with styrene monomer, a highly flammable substance with a
low flash point.
the tank did not leak as a result of the collision, however the
very nature of this substance created potential problems for emergency
was immediately stopped on the bridges and a CVECO code 8 was sounded
by the Bluewater Bridge Authority.who are a CVECO member.
response was from the Point Edward Fire Dept. who became the Incident
Command authority because it was in their region. Upon arriving
the Pt Edward platoon chief upgraded the CVECO code to a 5 which
brought Sarnia & Port Huron and CVECO industrial brigades (
if required) into the situation.
with any emergency situation, unforseen problems can occur. In this
case identification of the trucks contents, normally done by sighting
the hazard placard could not be achieved either through the bridge
cameras or by the use of binoculars because of vehicles stopped
in front of the truck. and sightings from the side were difficult
because of the location high above grade level. This aspect of the
response is critical in order to avoid putting emergency responders
at undue risk. A sighting was achieved from the ground with binoculars
and the Platoon Chief and crew then proceeded slowly up the bridge
to the curve where the fire fighting began.
prior to proceeding up the bridge, Sarnia FD were dispatched to
the "dry hydrant" at ground level which allows a pumper
to suction water from the river and pump it up one of several standpipes
to the road level of the bridge. Meanwhile, Port Huron FD pumper
proceeded cautiously from the US side in order to connect to the
standpipe and be able to provide water if required. This situation
was compounded by the fact that different hose thread couplings
are used in the US. Fortunately Port Huron, as well as Sarnia carry
adapter fittings for just such a situation.
the beginning of the incident, a command post was established in
the office of the Bluewater Bridge Operations Manager..The Operations
manager and the Pt. Edward Fire Chief became what CVECO refers to
as "Unified Command." This office is equipped for this
purpose with TV monitors and radio communications. This command
post became the center for communications in a situation involving
many agencies operating on various frequencies. In this incident
alone there were the following agencies; Point Edward Fire &Rescue,
Port Huron Fire Dept., Sarnia Fire & Rescue, Lambton EMS, Port
Huron Tri Hospitals, Bluewater Bridge Authority, CVECO, Ontario
Provincial Police and Preferred Towing.
fire was extinguished by Point Edward volunteers and rescue of the
victims began using extrication equipment. Waiting to remove and
transport the victims to hospital were both Lambton EMS and if required
Port Huron Tri Hospitals vehicles and personnel. As this was a simulation,
newer members of Lambton EMS staff were utilized to provide training.
removal of the victims, the tanker truck was driven to the containment
compound on the Canadian side of the bridge. This area is equipped
with a drainage containment system in the event of spills. At this
point the truck driver approached the truck in order to check all
valves. In doing so he inadvertently opened a valve and was splashed
with the contents. Sarnia Fire Departments newly formed HazMet team
was called into action to provide decontamination for the driver.
At this point, in an attempt to provide a dyke to contain the spill,
six other fire fighters became contaminated and also required decontamination.
completion of the exercise, the agencies Chiefs and a number of
trained observers and evaluators met at the Point Edward Fire Hall
to do an initial evaluation. After this session, each Chief was
to return to their halls and utilizing the experiences of their
team members, critique their own operation. When this is done, a
meeting of the participants and their lessons learned will be held
and a final report constructed.
summary, it was a very detailed and realistic scenario involving
many agencies and it met it’s objective of fire extinguishment,
rescue and spill containment while at all times preventing ignition
of the trucks cargo and preventing injuries to emergency personnel.
to cameras needed to facilitate placard identification.
in lake levels since construction of the bridge have left the
intake line for the "dry hydrant" in too shallow a
position. A vortex forms which jeopardizes pumping volume.
bridge fire water standpipes work as designed and pumping capacity
of FD pumper is more than adaquate to suppy water over 100"
up to the bridge.
for different standard hose lines do work and are carried at
all times on emergency vehicles.
Command post for the bridge is well equipped to handle a situation
of this magnitude.
required in communications between agency chiefs and the strict
adherence to the protocols outlined in the CVECO unified command
staffing of the mobile command post vehicle ( in the containment
area of the compound) by sector chiefs needs improvement.
formed Hazmet team of the Sarnia FD performed well at their
first call out. Minor improvements to equipment required.
personnel were sucessfully transported to the scene and controlled
for their own safety.
Bridge Authority were efficient in stopping traffic and facilitating
two way traffic in under 20 minutes.
will no doubt be additions to this list when agency self critiques
are completed. These will be both positive and negative, however
overiding fact remains, the areas emergency responders are well
trained and have the necessary equipment and organization to deal
sucessfully with complicated situations. Each group consistently
performs simulations by themselves and once a year a Sarnia Area
Disaster Simulation is carried out to confirm the areas readiness
to protect lives and the community.
Thanks this year to the many well trained volunteers from Point
Edward Fire & Rescue who designed the scenario, took command
and successfully rescued and contained a dangerous situation.