CAERing for the communityIf oil ever spilled into the river near Red Wing, local businesses and emergency responders would know what to do.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
If oil ever spilled into the river near Red Wing, local businesses and emergency responders would know what to do.
Members of Red Wing’s Community Awareness and Emergency Response group held a drill this Thursday that helped them test out the best methods for getting the materials out of the river and stopping the spread.
The Red Wing CAER organization comprises local entities including Canadian Pacific Rail, ADM, Xcel Energy, Wilson Oil and the city of Red Wing.
“Everyone’s working together,” Darwyn Tri, chair of the group and an ADM employee, said.
The scenario this year was this: the driver of a truck entering Red Wing on the Highway 63 bridge suffers a medical emergency and careens off the bridge, crashing into part of the ADM facility. Vegetable oil from ADM leaks and eventually reaches the Mississippi River.
The group held a two-day training that included a full drill, where participants set up different containment areas and helped control the flow of the river to keep the oil from moving farther down the river.
“It’s good to do this now so we know what to do if anything really happens,” Matt Stokes of Safety Training and Response Strategies, who helped lead the exercise, said.
The businesses involved typically have to do emergency drills anyway, and this organization gives them a chance to coordinate with the groups they actually would work with in the case of an emergency or event, participants said.
“Our role is to work together … with local entities to support each other in a time of need,” Dale Buckholtz of Canadian Pacific said.
Red Wing CAER members pool resources and equipment, and also have received donations and are allowed to borrow materials, such as trailers from the Coast Guard.
“This is a pretty unique arrangement,” Buckholtz said.
The Red Wing CAER organization meets monthly, and each meeting involves some sort of training, Stokes said.
Other CAER groups exist across the country and world, including Wakota CAER, which includes Washington and Dakota counties and large companies such as 3M. It was one of the first state CAER groups and started decades ago.
Canadian Pacifics is part of Wakota CAER.
“we took that concept down the river” to Red Wing, Buckholtz said.
This is the Red Wing group’s second year running drills.
The hope is that CAER organizations will continue to expand in Minnesota, Mike Thompson of Wakota CAER said.
“We’ve all got game plans,” he said. “It’s good to get us all together.”