Safety improvements will serve area well

When tragedy strikes, a well-trained response team can mean the difference between life and death.

In north central Iowa, the Rural Emergency Response Training Center plays a vital role in this endeavor.

Managed by Iowa Central Community College, the center, located at 1525 Ave. O, became operational in July 2009. From July 2009 to December 2012, the center trained 1,512 responders in 113 separate training sessions totaling 652,428 cumulative hours of training.

Recent contributions from various local and national companies will add another tool to the center’s repertoire.

More than $129,000 has been donated to bring a rail tanker car to the center.

Fort Dodge Fire Department Capt. Steve Hergenreter, who was instrumental in getting the project under way, said that Iowa Central students, local firefighters and those attending the annual Northwest Area Training Academy will be using the car for disaster training. The Region V Hazardous Materials Response Commission, which provides protection to Calhoun, Carroll, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright counties in Iowa also provided support and will be using the training site

The tanker car, which will be highlighted during an open house at the center beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, allows those first on the scene to gain experience in recognizing what sort of hazard they might face. Hergenreter said it can also be used for confined space training.

Numerous partnerships between Iowa Central and local businesses provide benefits to the region. This is merely the latest example thereof.

The Messenger commends this continued commitment to improving the safety of the region.