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First Responders Train for Well-Field Emergencies


First responders from eastern Lycoming County were among the initial trainees at the new Energy Technology Education Center, dedicated Friday near Penn College’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center south of Williamsport. On the morning after the dedication, crews assembled for a simulated lightning strike, potential methane leak and multiple injuries at a natural gas well field. Guided by real-time radio transmissions – with authenticity heightened by raging flames, active hoses and frighteningly realistic mock injuries – volunteer firefighters and other emergency personnel prioritized and conquered each of the challenges that greeted their deployment. The training site is a joint venture among the college, the Lycoming County Department of Public Safety and natural gas industry partners.

Attendees at the May 18 dedication make obvious the depth of cooperation among those involved in bringing the safety training site to reality.
Attendees at the May 18 dedication make obvious the depth of cooperation among those involved in bringing the safety training site to reality.

Responders from a variety of companies formulate their plan of attack.
Responders from a variety of companies formulate their plan of attack.

Ralph Tijerina, of Range Resources-Appalachia, LLC and the Marcellus Shale Coalition, speaks at the dedication ceremony.
Ralph Tijerina, of Range Resources-Appalachia, LLC and the Marcellus Shale Coalition, speaks at the dedication ceremony.

Craig Konkle, of the Lycoming County Department of Public Safety, briefs his audience on the site's various attributes
Craig Konkle, of the Lycoming County Department of Public Safety, briefs his audience on the site’s various attributes

Igniting a fire during a May 18 demonstration is Rex E. Moore, director of the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center.
Igniting a fire during a May 18 demonstration is Rex E. Moore, director of the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center.

Tracy L. Brundage, assistant vice president for workforce and economic development at the college, offers remarks.
Tracy L. Brundage, assistant vice president for workforce and economic development at the college, offers remarks.

Among the dignitaries getting a firsthand look is Glenn Cannon, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
Among the dignitaries getting a firsthand look is Glenn Cannon, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Eastern Lycoming County fire companies wear different colors, share same goals.
Eastern Lycoming County fire companies wear different colors, share same goals.

John D. Yingling, Lycoming County's director of public safety (left), talks with state Sen. Gene Yaw.
John D. Yingling, Lycoming County’s director of public safety (left), talks with state Sen. Gene Yaw.

Volunteers spray a protective wall of water between a fire and an "injured" well-field employee.
Volunteers spray a protective wall of water between a fire and an “injured” well-field employee.

Assessing injuries
Assessing injuries

State Sen. Gene Yaw
State Sen. Gene Yaw

Flames seem to burn unattended ...
Flames seem to burn unattended …

... until quelled by a spray of firefighters' foam
… until quelled by a spray of firefighters’ foam

Tending to the condition of a "victim," portrayed by Craig Konkle's son, Walker
Tending to the condition of a “victim,” portrayed by Craig Konkle’s son, Walker

A rescue crew prepares to extract a mannequin from within the well, among the "injured" in the day's exercise.
A rescue crew prepares to extract a mannequin from within the well, among the “injured” in the day’s exercise.

Clare Flannery Gan, producer for the Senate Republican Communications Office, appears on camera for a "Focus on Pennsylvania" segment.
Clare Flannery Gan, producer for the Senate Republican Communications Office, appears on camera for a “Focus on Pennsylvania” segment.

Descending to safety
Descending to safety

The view from the tower
The view from the tower

"This is a very impressive site," the PEMA director tells the senator. "It's great for the industry ... and what a resource to have in Pennsylvania so that people don't have to leave the state for training."
“This is a very impressive site,” the PEMA director tells the senator. “It’s great for the industry … and what a resource to have in Pennsylvania so that people don’t have to leave the state for training.”

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