Maine Wind Developers Take Proactive Steps for fire Safety

·         On May 29th 2013 there was a Bull Hill Windfarm Tabletop Exercise sponsored by Jeremy Damren, State Exercise Coordinator & State Citizen Corps Coordinator for the Maine Emergency Management Agency, Dept. of Defense
·         The meeting was hosted by Andrew Doak of First Wind and Chris Baldwin of Vestas
·         The meeting was presented by Andrew Sankey, Director, Hancock County Emergency Management Agency
·         There were 34 attendees that included First Responders from the Towns of Eastbrook, Hancock, Cherryfield, Aurora, Waltham, Osborn, and Franklin. Other attendees included Maine State Police, Hancock County  Sheriff’s office, Ambulance Service, Maine DEP, Maine Game Warden, Maine Forest Service and Washington County EMA
·         The purpose of the exercise was to provide participants an opportunity to evaluate current response concepts, plans, and capabilities for an incident at the Bull Hill Wind Farm Facility
·         The scope of the meeting was to emphasize the role of the Hancock County Emergency Response Agencies, its Mutual Aid Partners, and supporting agencies as well as First Wind and Vestas employees in response to different emergency scenarios at the wind farm facility
·         Topics covered include Resources and guidance to address hazardous materials, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, fire, and public safety
·         Two separate incident scenarios, first was personal injury and second was turbine fire, were discussed and questions were raised that included how to respond, who to respond to, response time and plan of action
o   The Scenario regarding personnel injury involved extracting an unresponsive victim from inside a wind turbines. A variety of topics were discussed with the Agencies, including call procedures, response time, site access locations, mutual aid and expectations of Firstwind, Vestas and First Responders during the scenario
o   Scenario #2 included discussing in detail the coordination of a fire event. A scenarios of a fire that has started outside the facility and approaching the facility was discussed as well as a fire that has started within the facility and the expectations of Firstwind, Vestas and Emergency agencies. Both these incidents were discussed if they were to take place during normal working hours or after normal working our. In detail, the following was discussed: How initial notification of a fire is to be make, who is called and dispatched from emergency agencies, communication between Firstwind, Vestas and emergency agencies during the fire, expectations of all parties during the fire, proper reporting to the Maine Forest Service for site related fires, communication to Firstwind remote operations center after hours and as an additional resource to add in response and communication during a fire. Site, Emergency personnel and public safety were considered a top priority during a fire, protection of natural resources and spreading of a fire in and around the facility were stresses as equally important. The Maine Forest Service was extremely pleased to be part of the scenarios as well as supported the overall communication and coordination that would take place in such an event.
·         Follow up includes an after action report by the sponsor and a mock drill to be scheduled in the fall