Jackson Township seeks funding for emergency training

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

A state-funded grant which provides education and training to first responders is being sought by officials in Jackson Township.

The board of trustees unanimously approved a resolution at its meeting on March 12 which authorizes the township administrator to apply for a hazardous materials training and planning grant.

Established by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), the types of funding available for this grant include:

•Courses involving hazardous materials training on various levels, including first response awareness, operations and technician, highway response specialist, incident command and tank car specialist.

•Intermodal hazardous materials training.

•Incident response exercises.

•Rail hazardous materials training, including rain/highway incident response training.

•Hazardous materials planning and survey studies.

According to administrator Shane Farnsworth, the township will seek funding to primarily cover coursework and training exercises that annually take place at Cleveland State University.

“It is really valuable training for our men and women,” he said. “The courses and the training help them to prepare for hazardous spills that take place on the interstate and it will also help them prepare for incidents should they happen at the SWACO (Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio) landfill.”

He noted that the township fire department was the first to respond to the scene involving a tractor-trailer that had overturned on Interstate-270 last year. The tractor-trailer was believed to have been carrying hazardous materials at the time of the incident.

“Our fire personnel were the first to respond and they knew what to do because they had that training,” he said.

Farnsworth said PUCO’s Hazardous Materials Training and Planning Grant is “highly competitive” as it is open to fire departments statewide. However, he does believe the township fire department has a “good chance” to receive some funding to further the education and training of its fire personnel.

“We are a growing community that is surrounded by several interstates where vehicles are constantly carrying hazardous materials,” he said. “While we do have our own HAZMAT team on London-Groveport Road, having the latest knowledge and training on how to respond to large-scale operations is immensely beneficial.”

The township does not expect to hear whether they were chosen to receive funding through PUCO’s Hazardous Materials Training and Planning Grant program until later this summer.

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