Hazmat Exercises to Test Earthquake and Medical Response in East Grays Harbor County

The Vertellus Performance Chemical Plant will be the main focus of a multi-day Hazardous Material exercise sponsored by the Grays Harbor Local Emergency Planning Committee, (LEPC). It will involve a hazardous material release triggered by an earthquake.

Chuck Wallace with the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Agency said that multiple agencies will participate with true patient movement including Grays Harbor Fire Districts #5 and #2, Elma Fire, Grays Harbor Emergency Management, the Washington National Guard, Grays Harbor Community Hospital, Summit Pacific Hospital and Mason General Hospital in Mason County.

The Vertellus Plant will simulate damage to their system pipeline with injuries to personnel. Their goal is a simulated plant shutdown, product containment, personnel treatment and transport to the hospital. Area hospitals will exercise their ability to manage and triage an overwhelming number of patients impacted by the event.

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The exercise will take place on Friday, October 13th and Saturday, October 14th. You may notice staging of equipment at various places throughout the county, as well as military and civilian vehicles, fire apparatus and ambulances driving from the Vertellus site and Grays Harbor Fire District #2 to area and regional hospitals.

The exercise provides another opportunity for numerous local and regional agencies to interact with National Guard units. The Grays Harbor County LEPC is extremely pleased that the Vertellus Performance Chemicals plant in Elma, stepped forward and requested to be the focus of the exercise, which will test and enhance numerous emergency and response plans throughout the region.