Happy Dollars / Announcements
- There were lots of Happy Dollars, including Lynne Alexander, back after several weeks’ absence. Welcome back, Lynne!
- Chip Groth shared that he and Anthony Bradford attended a planning meeting regarding PennFest Open Streets, and will have more to report soon about our club's participation as volunteers.
Program - Matt Stokes, "Hazmat: Expect the worst, hope for the best"
In 2010, Matt Stokes founded Safety Training and Response Strategies, LLC, which works with a variety of government agencies in areas of contingency planning, specialty training, exercise design and emergency response. Matt commented that the Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program requires “massive amounts of contingency planning,” with specific metrics to measure success and help plan better responses to various contingencies. In a time when government is often criticized, Matt argued, “The government is very effective.”
Matt assured us that, while oil pipeline leaks and train derailments create “drama by scale,” 99.976% of hazardous material shipments arrive safety. While Matt noted, “Trucks are 10X more likely to be in an accident, but the spills are relatively small and therefore don’t grab headlines.”
Matt clarified that, while burning oil “causes a conflagration, it does not explode.” He added, “We should be more concerned about anhydrous ammonia and chlorine, which are more prevalent in our surroundings.”
Matt showed us pictures of his work with first responders in Prairie du Chien WI, focused on containing potential oil spills, and Community Awareness and Emergency Response (CAER) training exercises in Redwing MN and Dubuque IA, in preparation for a possible train accident. He noted that the Railroads pay for both the training and all the equipment that is left in place.
Based on his experience, Matt urged both policy-makers and the pubic to "work with the facts" and “don't "demagogue the issues” relating to hazmat.