EMA director says spills notification needs to improve

Emergency personnel and businesses again are being reminded of the importance of notifying the local Emergency Management Agency (EMA) of spills.
“There’s been a delay in getting notified,” Auglaize County EMA Director Troy Anderson said.
He said while each situation is different, any time a vehicle ends up laying on its side in a ditch, there is a good chance that fluid will go into the ditch.
“A ditch is a type of waterway and we need to be notified about that,” Anderson said.
He said with the first priority in any type of incident like that is a person’s life, but a system has been put in place that would have dispatchers advise him of any possible leaks.
“By having them call, it frees up firefighters to do what they need to do,” Anderson said.
He said the situations where he would need to be called for crashes apply mostly to semitrailers and commercial vehicles.
“Because ditches are considered navigable waterways, if there is a spill that creates a sheen, notifications need to be made so we can make a quicker response,” Anderson said.
Understanding that emergency responders at the scene are busy tending to the people involved, he said it makes sense for dispatchers to be charged with the task of notifying him of any possible spills.
Anderson said recently there also have been delays by businesses and industries notifying his office of spills.
“They are notifying the state, but not the fire departments or EMA,” Anderson said.
He plans to send out letters reiterating state requirements that all three entities — the local EMA, local fire department and state — need to be notified if there is a spill.
“We’re giving them a reminder because we do have enforcement policies in place,” Anderson said. “We understand there may be personnel changes and they may not understand, but we need to get those notifications made.”