Simulated Disaster Drill Strengthens Emergency Response Teams

Local first responders partner with Luminant to prepare for potential emergencies


Members of Big Brown Power Plant’s Emergency Response Team were an integral part of the simulated disaster drill and worked with a variety of local first responders to further enhance their safety skills.

Members of Big Brown Power Plant’s Emergency Response Team were an integral part of the simulated disaster drill and worked with a variety of local first responders to further enhance their safety skills.

Luminant’s Big Brown Power Plant employees and local first responders recently tested their emergency training techniques during the site’s first full-scale regional disaster drill.

The scenario centered on a simulated natural gas pipeline explosion, resulting in property damage, several injuries and an anhydrous ammonia leak. Similar to an actual emergency of this scale, the response included multiple counties, municipalities, fire departments, EMS services and the East Texas Medical Center of Fairfield.

The simulation – part of Luminant’s dedication to continuous improvement and enhancing safety best practices – tested not only the coordination and responsiveness of the outside agencies, but also the capabilities of Big Brown’s employees.

The drill served as a critical learning opportunity for a variety of area first response organizations.

The drill served as a critical learning opportunity for a variety of area first response organizations.

“Our onsite Big Brown Emergency Response Team is trained to handle a variety of potential scenarios, but training events like this allow us to partner with a large number of outside agencies and improve our methods,” said Keith Tatum, Big Brown safety specialist. “The drill also provides an invaluable training experience for local first responders to test their skills and gain firsthand knowledge about our facility.”

With all the challenges they faced, Big Brown’s Emergency Response Team and local first responders’ display of teamwork was the drill’s true measure of success.

“An exercise of this scale is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to improve our first aid skills and develop a working relationship with Big Brown’s Emergency Response Team and all of our local services,” said Billy Perez, Fairfield EMS director. “We’re all better equipped and prepared now to handle potential emergencies similar to this scenario.

Following the event, Big Brown employees and local first responders gathered to debrief and share lessons learned. Participating drill agencies included the Fairfield EMS, Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department, Waco Volunteer Fire Department, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, East Texas Medical Center Fairfield, Air Evac Lifeteam and the Heart of Texas Council of Governments.

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