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      Training at Cliffs Natural Resources

      Emergency agencies were on the scene at Cliffs Natural Resources in Palmer Monday evening for a 'mock' chemical spill.

      However, it's all part of a training exercise.

      Cliffs responders were dispatched to the scene of a chemical exposure to Ether Amine during a truck delivery. However, this training exercise also involves six outside agencies.

      "It'll be a good opportunity for some newer firefighters to actually get the chance to try out some skills they just learned in class," said Bob U'Ren, Ishpeming Township Fire.

      So in this exercise, Bell EMS, Ishpeming Township Fire, Richmond Township Fire and others set up a triage at an offsite location. The victims are retrieved from the site of chemical exposure, stabilized and sent to the hospital.

      "So it's not only here at the mine that's participating. It's the EMSA responders and the fire responders that, if they got called out here, how they would respond. How fast it's going take them to get out here. Resources that they need, and then they can test their services when they get to the emergency department," said Teresa Schwalbach, Marquette County Emergency Response Coordinator.

      The exercise gives responders from outside agencies the opportunity to get familiar with the property and locating sites. It also tests their ability to use protocol and the chain of command. The most important thing: their ability to work together by getting to know one another and each other's roles.

      "Communication needs to be tight, in between the Cliffs as well as the outside agencies. Having exercises like this reinforces that communication and the need for it and how to improve upon it," said Jennifer Huetter, District Manager Public Affairs in Michigan.

      Afterwards they evaluate how everyone did and what could use improvement. Safety is Cliffs' number one priority, and so they provide yearly training sessions.