Area first responders train for potential oil spills - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Area first responders train for potential oil spills

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It's a day of learning out on the Mississippi River.

The Dubuque Fire Department along with other area first responders are going through different scenarios training for oil spills.

"We actually have three lines that run through or alongside Dubuque and along the Mississippi so, and with the amount of crude...I mean obviously with the transportation, the number of cars coming by everyday, it's increased many, many fold," said Greg Harris, assistant chief of the Dubuque Fire Department.

Because of the cargo coming through the Tri-State area by rail, highway or barge -- they want to make sure they're prepared.

Just in case accidents like this happen again -- just last year, a BNSF train carrying oil derailed in Galena, Illinois. A huge fire erupted. "We had lessons learned from there...we had a very good response, along with the Galena Fire Department and the mutual aid around there," said Derek Lampkin, Hazardous Material Manager for BNSF.

But there's always room for improvement. should there be a next time, the Dubuque Fire Department will be able to pitch in and help.

The goal is to contain, collect and recover the hazardous materials.

To help collect the oil, they use different types of equipment. One of them is a yellow curtain boom. It floats on top of the water and can collect up to 4,500 gallons of oil. 

This is to protect the shore and any habitat living there.

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