Ascension Industrial ERT Leaders (CAER) train with Ascension Parish Volunteer Firefighters

James E. LeBlanc, Ascension CAER Chairman

On Monday April 29, sixty-five Volunteer Firefighters from St. Amant, 5th. Ward, Geismar, Galvez-Lake and 7th. Dist., Volunteer Fire Departments met and trained with Ascension Industrial Chemical Plant ERT Leaders (CAER) on the proper way to respond to Industrial Incidents.

Ascension volunteer fire departments are typically the life-line between life and death in the rural communities of Ascension. Men and women remain on call 24/7 and face all of the commitment and seriousness a full-time firefighter will experience. Often they are the only ones available to meet public safety needs in rural areas because there is no emergency medical team available at all times or even in the vicinity. Ascension volunteer firefighters require continuous training to ensure he or she is adequately prepared for the variety of situations that may develop here in Ascension.

Volunteer Firefighting has become a much more multi-faceted undertaking because of the increased number of building materials out on the market. No longer are homes and businesses built with just natural materials or with the same altered formulas. This means that when a volunteer firefighter enters a building engulfed in flames, he or she must be prepared to deal with a volatile situation where the fire can react in different ways, travel in different paths or accelerate unexpectedly.

Ascension volunteer fire departments require just as much training as personnel of paid departments. Often members are traveling from much greater distances, which means that decisions must be made on scene even more quickly, this holds true in the Industrial portions of our Parish as well.

The Ascension Fire District #1 along with CAER (Community Awareness Emergency Response) held the training class on Monday Night of this week instructed by Galvez-Lake Assistant Chief Sam Colon as well as myself, the St. Amant Fire Chief. Representatives from 10 different area Industrial Facilities were in attendance as well. They discussed the hazards of responding to a plant hazard, fire at an Industrial Facility or railroad incidents as well as a pipeline incident and the precautions that have been set in place.

Our  volunteer firefighters can easily be called to respond to a call in the plant corridor as well as incidents involving hazardous material being transported on our highways. The Ascension Volunteer Firefighters work on a day to day basis with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office Haz-Mat Team on these calls.