On Wednesday, December 9, 2015, Nassau County Fire Rescue, the Fernandina Beach Fire Department, and Rayonier Advanced Materials conducted a simulated hazmat drill at Rayonier's mill in Fernandina Beach. The drill was intended to test the capabilities of all local responders that would be called upon in a real life situation. In this scenario, emergency personnel responded to a rail car that was leaking hazardous materials.
First on the scene was the Fernandina Beach Fire Department who according to Nassau County Fire Chief, Matt Graves, "established command, conducted reconnaissance, and rescued one viable victim that was decontaminated and transported to Baptist Medical Center Nassau". After arriving at the hospital, BMCN staff proceeded to treat the victim.
Nassau County Fire Rescue's Special Hazards Operations Team (SHOT) personnel responded as part of the hazardous materials response team. Upon arrival, SHOT personnel initiated air monitoring, established technical decontamination, and commanded emergency personnel to secure the rail car. "All of the responders, from plant personnel to fire rescue assets, performed extremely well", stated Chief Graves. "There are lessons to learn and improvements to be made but the overall response was appropriate and professional".
The SHOT team was established in May 2015 in an effort to have a specialized response team that can effectively protect first responders, citizens, and visitors in the event of a hazardous materials release. Other trainings SHOT participated in this year include a confined space rescue course and high angle rescue training. Chief Graves added, "We are proud of the members of Nassau County Fire Rescue that have dedicated their time to undertake this enormous responsibility and all the training that is required to make this a tangible and valuable asset to our community".
If you have any questions regarding SHOT, please contact Nassau County Fire Chief, Matt Graves, at (904) 491-7525 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
County Manager's Office