Disposal of chemical munitions at the Bluegrass Army Depot is still years away, but keeping up with the demilitarization process is day to day for some government safety officials. Mark Klaas is program manager for Kentucky’s Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program. Work continues on a chemical neutralization plant for nerve agent at the Madison County Army installation. Klaas says the neutralized product could be hauled away.
“Once they go through the process, it’s no longer chemical, it’s just haz mat material. No more dangerous than what we roll up and down the interstate every day. That’s why they continue to get the permits to move it off site. There’s been no decision yet as to whether they’re gonna do something with it on site, secondary waste water or whether they’re gonna move it to somewhere else,” said Klaas.
Klaas participated in a recent Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program meeting in Lexington. Officials from Kentucky and Colorado attended the sessions. Those are the only two remaining states with Army chemical stockpiles. Emergency response officials are always looking for ways to improve care for those directly impacted by a disaster. Klaas says a chest compression devise can help with heart attack patients.
“You can go down there and they pick them up in the ambulances and they start to transport them out. Well, if you start having people with check problems or whatever, they go into cardiac arrest, these thumpers will allow them to turn around and can do the check compressions, so that only two people have to go to the ambulance instead of three,” added Klaas.
Klaas says preparedness officials also continue to investigate better ways to improve care for pets during a disaster. He says it may involve housing pets adjacent to emergency shelters for their human owners.