MARSHALL, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — It’s been less than a month since a spill of the chemical anhydrous ammonia caused by a crash on U.S. 40 took five lives in Teutopolis, Illinois.
Saturday, first responders in Illinois had the chance to learn more about how to respond in these dangerous situations. The Illinois Fire Institute put on a class in Marshall to help those on hand learn about how to handle anhydrous ammonia.
Anhydrous ammonia is one of the most common chemicals used in modern agriculture. It is also one of the most dangerous. There have always been precautions in place when a spill occurs but there is room for change.
Rusty Glosser is with the Marshall fire department, and he expresses that there are always more things to be learned about these situations.
“We need to constantly be educating ourselves as first responders to know what new techniques are available and what the dangers are of situations. Also, how to evacuate and what we have in our area that we need to concentrate as far as keeping the community safe,” said Glosser.
One of the reasons situations like this can spiral out of control is because a lot of first responders aren’t in the agriculture industry. This means that many of them have rarely dealt with chemicals of this magnitude.
Bill Fulton is a field instructor for the Illinois Fire Service Institute, and he goes over what he shared with these first responders.
“It’s a very manageable product. It’s a very safe product as long as you know the characteristics and how to handle it. I always tell these guys to respect it and to not be afraid of it,” said Fulton.
The main purpose of the class is to make sure everyone involved knows how to react in emergency situations. At the end of the day, the safety of these communities is all they care about.
“These people could be my friends, my neighbors to be able to help them out with an emergency. It’s very important for them to understand how to properly handle anhydrous ammonia in an emergency situation so that they can help those folks out there in the country,” added Fulton.
These classes were scheduled prior to the accident in Teutopolis. The next class for this will be on November 20th in Effingham, Illinois.