Preventing chemical crisis in Kern County

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -  

There are several safety procedures in place at local agriculture or oil facilities to prevent an incident similar to the one in West, Texas from happening in Kern County.

Anhydrous ammonium and ammonium nitrate were both found at the Central Texas fertilizer plant.

23 ABC asked the Bakersfield Fire Department if those chemicals could be found in Kern County.

“The ammonia is very common in Bakersfield and Kern County. It has many commercial and industrial applications,” said Deputy Fire Chief Ross Kelly.

Back in March emergency crews demonstrated how to handle an incident involving anhydrous ammonium. That’s a liquid that is released as a gas and ammonium nitrate is a solid industrial fertilizer.

It's used in refrigeration. It's used in the oil industry, agriculture and then the fertilizer has agriculture uses. You also might see it in the mining industry."

Deputy Fire Chief Ross Kelly told 23 ABC the facilities that use hazardous chemicals are highly regulated through Hazmat.

“They have to perform site safety plans and have to report materials they’re storing on site. They’re also subject to annual inspection of materials. Many of those facilities also train with us in case there is an emergency we should be able to work together to contain leaks,” said Kelly.

The ammonia is also contained in cooling systems in most cases and personnel at facilities know how to use the equipment and what to do to contain a leak.

 

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