Displaying a steadfast commitment to safety, continuous improvement and teamwork, Luminant’s Sandow Power Plant employees and nearly 75 first responders, recently tested their emergency skills during a simulated disaster drill. The full-scale drill at Sandow plant in Milam County was the first of its kind for the area and brought together local, county, regional and state response agencies.
The drill scenario centered on a simulated diesel line explosion that caused property damage, a fire, several fake injuries and an anhydrous ammonia leak. The simulation tested not only the coordination and response of the outside agencies, but also Sandow employees’ capabilities.
“Our onsite Sandow Emergency Response Team is trained to handle a variety of potential scenarios, but anytime we have the opportunity to work with a large number of outside agencies, it’s an invaluable learning and training experience,” said Jesse Smith, Sandow plant safety specialist. “Events like this provide our local first responders with a rare opportunity to practice their training techniques at a power plant and gain firsthand knowledge about our facility.”
When faced with multiple scenario challenges, Sandow employees and local first responders proved the most effective way to generate success is through teamwork.
“Community preparedness exercises of this scale are critical to help our agencies enhance their first aid skills and develop a working relationship with Sandow’s ERT team,” said Susan Reinders, Milam County Homeland Security and emergency management coordinator. “We’re thankful for the opportunity to partner with Luminant and we’re now better prepared should a real emergency arise.”
Following the four-hour drill, Sandow employees and first responders gathered to debrief and share lessons learned. Luminant leaders, including Brad Masek, Sandow plant support manager, expressed their appreciation to all drill participants.
“We constantly strive to improve our processes and procedures. By putting our response practices into action, we’re able to fine-tune our methods and find the best solutions,” Masek said. “Safety, above all else, is our top priority at Luminant. Hats off to all of the drill participants and thank you for continuing to make Milam County a great place to work and live.”
Participating drill agencies included the Cameron, Milano, Rockdale and Thorndale Volunteer Fire Departments, Harker Heights Fire Department and Temple Fire Department (hazmat team), along with numerous Milam County departments and area first response organizations. Also, nearly 20 Cameron and Rockdale ISD students participated in the drill as victims at area hospitals.