Mock chemical spill successful; residents kept aware

By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — The scene at BASF Tuesday morning might have appeared tragic as hospital staff, firefighters and emergency response workers descended on the company, but it was only a test.

“It went really well,” BASF Communication Director Marika Diamond said of the drill that involved BASF staff, firefighters, Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital and the Downriver Emergency Response Team. The drill lasted from 8:30 a.m. to noon at BASF, 1609 Biddle Ave.

“It better prepares all of us in coordination,” Diamond said of the reason behind the event. “Afterwards the parties held a debriefing and discussed strengths and opportunities.”

In addition to testing preparedness, Diamond said it also tests the alert system that sounds in Wyandotte.

Resident Kimber Weeks can attest that it works.

“I heard a booming voice saying, ‘This is a drill,’ with loud sirens going off,” said Weeks, of the drill.

Weeks saw the flyers and heard other announcements about the upcoming drill, but said it was a bit “intimidating” when it started.

“I think it was more shocking for those that didn’t know what was going on,” Weeks said.

She talked to some people who wasn’t aware of the drill.

Police Inspector James Povliot said it was made clear when the sirens started that it was only a drill.

“I heard the sirens going off saying, ‘This is a drill,’” Povliot said.

Police weren’t part of the drill, but they were made aware of it. Povliot said residents were made aware of the drill.

“They (BASF) overdo it when it comes to letting people know about the drills,” Povliot said.

He said he was not aware of any calls to 911 concerning the incident.

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at tnims@bewickpublications.com.)