Brownville, Neb. – Cooper Nuclear Station’s fire brigade is ready at a moment’s notice to protect its co-workers, the plant and the public. And in order to be prepared, training began this past week to prepare for any potential fire-related incident.
To maintain and sharpen some of these skills, crews are going through three days of annual training using firefighting equipment and tactics. Training began last week, with more than eight hours each day which tested crew members’ physical agility and structural firefighting abilities.
Though CNS has its own fire training area, it suffered damage from the 2011 flooding. As a result, this year’s training is held at Bellevue’s fire training facility.
“Mandated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Cooper’s fire brigade is the last line of defense if there were ever a fire at the facility,” stated John Shrader, CNS Fire Safety Lead. “That’s why it’s so important the crews are highly-trained and capable of extinguishing any type of fire. Nebraska Public Power District has a very high standard for its fire brigades, not just at CNS but at Gerald Gentleman and Sheldon Station as well.”
Consisting of five crews of about 20 people each, the brigade is highly trained and proficient in responding to a multitude of emergency situations. That training will continue with additional crews receiving training over the coming weeks.
“The City of Bellevue has been a tremendous help by allowing us to use their training grounds,” commented Shrader. “Their structure uses natural gas which doesn’t produce a lot of smoke, unlike most structural fires. This allows the crews to see what they’re doing and build that into memory which they can rely on when visibility is greatly reduced.”