Sacramento and West Sacramento firefighters got experience wrestling a 200 foot containment boom on the Sacramento River on Tuesday. It was part of their preparation for an oil spill that might occur on the river.
They are well aware of the uproar caused by a proposal to ship crude oil by rail from Roseville through Sacramento and Davis to a refinery in Benecia. Those oil trains pass over the I Street Bridge across the Sacramento River. It’s a concern for firefighters who worry they might be caught off guard because oil shipment schedules have been kept secret.
“It absolutely is, it’s something we’ve been paying attention to…we do have a lot of transit that goes over our rivers, so that is a concern, we want to be prepared for it,” said Jerry Apodaca, Sacramento Fire Deparment Hazmat Coordinator.
The fire department more commonly handles boat collisions and vehicles crashing into the river which also releases gasoline and diesel oil.
Supervising the training was an advisory team from the Coast Guard stationed in Alameda. They routinely train emergency responders on waterways. Apodaca says the containment boom used to corral oil so it can be skimmed away is new to many firefighters.
“They taught us some nice techniques to overcome those challenges an we’re going to benefit greatly from that,” said Apodaca.