Gregory Olmsted, environmental protection specialist with the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Directorate of Environmental Management, spoke with 10 bus drivers from the 529th Regimental Support Company, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) about the importance of properly responding to hazardous material spills, including materials like oil and diesel March 8.

"It is important to prevent oil and hazardous materials from getting into the environment; this is the first step, if you had a spill, you want to contain it before it gets into the waterways," said Rahul Patel, petroleum, oil, and lubricants tank program support, who was also at the training.

With any hazardous material spill on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall -- that can be anything from oil to diesel and beyond -- the spill must be reported to the fire department, Olmsted said.

"It does not really matter what size the spill is, just report it to [the fire department], tell them how much, and they will decide [how to respond]," Olmsted said.

Some other information the fire department will need when notified include information on is the type of material spilled, how much, the location and anything nearby of significance like nearby storm drains or residences.

"It is important that anytime someone encounters a hazardous materials spill they contact the fire department," says Russell Miller, Jr., JBM-HH fire chief, through an email. "Immediate notification may be the difference between a minor event or a major event. Early notification could also minimize the environmental effect such as the amount of gasoline entering a storm drain and minimize the negative effect on mission capabilities. Our personnel have specialized training and equipment for spill response."

Signs in the area around the diesel pumps on the joint base clearly state safety reminders.

"One thing I do also want to share with you, this will be kind of a reminder for you, as you pull up with one of your buses [to the pumps on JBM-HH], there is quite a bit of signage down here," said Olmsted. "You see there is a no smoking [sign] within 50 feet, do not leave vehicle unattended while fueling and stop your motors."

A sign labeled "Spill response action guide" gives a reminder of who to notify and what to do in case of a spill.

"If there is anyone else out there, make sure they shut off their engines, make sure there is no one smoking, make sure no other vehicles will be pulling in at the spill, keep traffic out, in other words, restrict the access," said Olmsted. "And if you need to evacuate the area, go up a gradient from the spill and up wind from the spill. Use common sense."

As a reminder, Olmsted also asked the bus drivers to ensure the gas cap is in place before driving away from the pumps.

To report an emergency on JBM-HH, call 911 or 703-696-3600.

Page last updated Fri March 15th, 2013 at 00:00