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Letters to the Editor

Published: May 3, 2017 12:00 AM

Says law allows for important oil, gas disclosures to firefighters

As the lead firefighter instructors of Ohio's designated oil and gas emergency response training program, we were concerned with published comments from a statehouse press conference incorrectly alleging state law denies emergency responders important oil and gas chemical disclosure information.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program has trained nearly 1,500 firefighters from 319 fire departments across Ohio, and seven other states, on oil and gas emergency safety protocols. The training program was developed in collaboration with safety experts from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio fire service and Ohio's oil and gas producers.

The workshops combine modern firefighting protocols with oil field emergency response best practices. Making sure each firefighter knows how to obtain chemical disclosure information is just one important part of this training. State and federal laws require extensive disclosure of chemical compounds at any place of business, or those materials shipped by car, truck, rail or pipeline. These requirements apply to oil and gas operations too.

Firefighters are trained to cross reference chemical identification numbers on containers and placards with the USDOT Emergency Response Guidebook to determine the best course of action. In addition, all types of businesses, must maintain Safety Data Sheets on a variety of materials. Additional resources are also available through federal hazardous material online databases such as CAMEO and organizations like Chemtrec that provide firefighters with additional chemical disclosure and safety protocols.

Assertions that our firefighters lack the knowledge to address these emergencies are false and disrespectful to these brave men and women that work hard to keep our communities safe. They regularly and successfully managed all types of potential hazardous materials emergencies because training and important chemical disclosure information is readily available.

Charlie Dixon, Granville

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