The Plant Hatch Emergency Response Team’s (ERT) outstanding performance at the 2017 Southern Company Rescue Rodeo was recognized as this year’s competition winner. During three days of extreme rescue training at Plant Smith in Bay County, Fla., 18 teams trained in seven rescue scenario stations — one competitive and six non-competitive stations. With intense, hands-on training, teams responded to a variety of realistic emergent situations that could occur in an electrical power plant.
“We all came together at the rodeo, and it made me so proud of my team,” said Hatch Senior Nuclear Security Officer Stephanie Herrel. “I was honored to participate with this team of outstanding responders.”
The Hatch ERT members are dispersed on separate Security teams to ensure immediate response to a plant event. Only the annual rodeo provides the opportunity for the members to train together as a team with just a day or two of advance training. Taking practical experience back to the job creates well-trained emergency responders and safer plant environments.
“We could not perform at this outstanding level without the instruction, guidance and leadership of Johnny Moser and Gerald ‘Marty’ Martinez,” said Herrel. “You can tell by our performance that our team is disciplined to take personal responsibility to train and practice on our own — there is just not enough time for on-the-job training to reach this level.”
“Congratulations to the Hatch ERT for their outstanding performance, for representing the plant and for their dedication to emergency response,” said Hatch Site Vice President David Vineyard and Hatch Plant Manager Tony Spring in a joint recognition communication. “We join your emergency response team peers in recognizing your excellent performance.”
Because the safety of Southern Company employees and customers is paramount, Our Values begin with Safety First, which means we perform and maintain every job, every day, safely. In the unlikely event of an emergency at one of our plants, employees should feel confident knowing the company has highly trained personnel ready and willing to respond.
“During my U.S. Navy service, we lost a shipmate in a recovery effort due to improper rigging,” said Hatch Security Shift Lieutenant Marty Martinez. “Years ago when I was assigned to lead the Hatch ERT, I made a promise to myself to ensure we had the best team possible and to never lose a patient or coworker.”
Southern Company has an abundant resource of veteran emergency responders, trainers and evaluators dedicated to continuous improvement. Working together to simulate scenarios for the annual rodeo, trainers developed seven unique stations that provide ERTs a variety of high intensity real-world emergency scenarios. For the first year in the history of the annual rodeo, every victim was a real person. A team trained in moulage — the art of applying mock injuries for training — prepared 18 victims each day to be staged in confined spaces for rescue.
“Drilling with living victims simulates a much more realistic scenario,” explained Hatch Site Nuclear Security Operations Manager Allie Meadows. “In addition to mentally dealing with real screams for help and moans of pain, the ERTs can practice taking vitals and responding to emergent needs all while remembering the top priority -- safely relocating the victims to a safe, open area for immediate medical treatment by trained personnel.”
With limited guidance from their instructors during scenarios, teams demonstrate their preparedness to handle rescues from explosions, scaffold collapses and confined spaces. Real time in-field teaching and coaching with team leaders and post-scenario debriefs with instructors and evaluators focus on individual and team performance. The event condenses years of instruction into two-and-a-half days of intense training.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires rescue teams to handle technical rescues beyond confined space. SNC established ERTs around Security, because the department is filled with former military and law enforcement personnel who already have extensive knowledge and background in rescue.
“Most of Southern Company’s rescues have been non-confined space rescue,” said Hatch Senior Nuclear Plant Instructor Johnny Moser. “While the law only mandates rescue for permitted spaces, we have evolved into more technical rescue training, and we design our rodeo scenarios to take this into account.”
Rescue scenarios bring Safety First full circle. In addition to safely rescuing mock victims, each team member is responsible for his or her teammates — all while in extremely challenging conditions. Since the first rodeo in 1999, the event has maintained an excellent safety record with only minor first aids.
“The Hatch ERT level of engagement during every rescue scenario was outstanding,” said Spring. “That’s why evaluators, instructors and peers recognize the level of excellence Hatch brings to strengthen and to share with peers.”
“Most of our ERT members, leaders and instructors are in the community as emergency responders or coordinators,” said Martinez. “With our ERT training at work and home, we have a world-class team always ready to respond.”
Emergency responders are an elite group of men and women who are ready to act on a moment’s notice. Our Value are their values — Safety First, Unquestionable Trust, Superior Performance and Total Commitment. Their call to duty, dedication to training and enthusiasm to excel provides a level of safety and security that many are unaware even exists. Be assured that in a worst-case scenario, it won’t be long before a Southern Company team is on the scene to respond, and their priority is you.
2017 Hatch Emergency Response Team