Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Allegheny County Emergency Crews Getting Shale Ready

With two accidents at a pair Marcellus Shale drilling rigs in less than a week many opponents of drilling in the geological formation are questioning the safety of such operations. The same accidents have prompted Allegheny County Emergency Services Chief Bob Full to think about responding to future accidents. When first responders arrived on the scene of this week’s gas well explosion in Moundsville West Virginia they found that the workers had left to get medical treatment. The emergency crews were not fully prepared to deal with the flames. Right now there are no Marcellus Shale wells in Allegheny County but Full says he does not want to get caught flatfooted. He says they have already been looking at training opportunities and equipment needs. Full says emergency response and HAZMAT teams in the county already have an understanding of traditional gas wells and natural gas transmission lines but he thinks it is a good idea to beef up that training, “We will do our due diligence on it, we will learn every bit as much as we possibly can about it.” Full says some of those training opportunities might be best found in Texas where shale gas formations have been tapped for years. The county plans to work with industry leaders when it comes to training and equipment needs. Full says they hope to be able to offer some training to the fire and police departments throughout the county.

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