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Colonial Pipeline donates utility truck to Bainbridge Public Safety

By Brandon

O’Connor

Reporter

Bainbridge Public Safety tries to be ready for any emergency that happens in the city whether it requires the services of the police, firefighters or both, but on Aug. 21, 2015, they realized just how unprepared they were if that emergency was a large gas fire.

On that day, one of the holding tanks in West Bainbridge exploded, killing one man and causing a massive fire that BPS could barely contain with the resources it had on hand.

BPS Fire Chief Doyle Welch immediately began working to make sure that if something like that happened again that they would be prepared.

“I saw that there was a need for us to have a foam trailer in Southwest Georgia…when you need foam you need a lot of it,” Welch said.

Fires like the one in West Bainbridge can’t be contained using water like a typical house fire. It instead requires a specialized foam that can suppress the flames.

Welch applied for a Homeland Security hazmat grant to purchase a foam trailer and the needed gear to operate it.

“We were awarded a grant for a foam trailer and supply hose,” Welch said. “In the grant we also asked for a truck and some more equipment that we needed, but we didn’t get that. We got a partial grant.”

BPS was looking at a scenario where they would have the trailer and equipment needed to fight a gas fire, but no way to get the equipment to the scene when Colonial Pipeline came to the rescue.

Recently, Colonial hosted a pipeline safety class with Decatur County emergency services on how to respond to emergencies related to the Colonial Pipeline in town. During the presentation, they offered to help in any way needed and that led to Welch calling and asking if they had a truck that they would be willing to donate.

“Chief Doyle gave me a phone call and asked if we had any trucks that we could donate to the Bainbridge Public Safety Department,” Operation manager Robert West said. “Colonial is real active in being part of different communities and emergency response agencies. We like to partner with the emergency response agencies in different counties.”

The request came at the perfect time as Colonial was in the process of purchasing a new truck for its lead technician in Cobb County and the old truck was scheduled to be traded in. Instead, they decided to donate the truck to BPS. 

Welch said that he could not have imagined a better truck to meet his needs.

“It’s perfect,” he said. “The truck has a utility body on it. We will be able to put our extra equipment that we need on the scene instead of having it here at the station. That equipment will now be stored on that truck. The supply lines that go to the trailer, there was no room on the apparatus to tow 1,000 feet of this specialized hose. The hose now will be stored in the bed of this truck. It has a cover on it.”

The trailer is currently out for bid. The goal is for the trailer to be ready to use and for firefighters both locally and throughout the region to be trained to use it in the next few months.

It will then be available to every emergency response division in the region. Welch said that he hopes to set up a foam conglomerate where departments throughout the region have foam supplies on hand in a case of an emergency and then BPS can simply bring the truck and trailer to the scene.

About Brandon O'Connor

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