HOWARD COUNTY, TX (KWES) - The Alon USA refinery in Howard County conducted a drill to prepare for possible emergencies yesterday.
Emergency crews from Big Spring and across Howard County came together to help the refinery train to handle disaster.
"We actually get everybody out, and actually they simulate fires and spills of different chemicals and stuff for us to work and use resources so that we can be prepared in case the real thing does happen," Howard County Emergency Management Coordinator Terry Chamness says.
To keep responders on their toes, the nature of the emergencies are kept secret.
"We have different scenarios," says Alon's Joe Wright. "We have different things thrown at us. We don't know that's going to happen. Whenever we start the drill, they give us envelopes and they'll give us a scenario that's going on and they keep throwing different ones at us and you have to respond appropriately to them."
This year, crews responded to a simulated salt water well fire, a wrecked dump truck, a grass fire and a train derailment, which resulted in a chemical spill.
On top of that, the workers had to respond to all of these emergencies without using cell phones.
"So that was a new twist that we had never done before," Jeff Brorman with Alon said." But in 2008 we had problems with cell phone service that day, so it's something that you've got to be prepared for."
Drills like this help to prepare the refinery workers, as well as responders across Howard County and the City of Big Spring to work together smoothly in case someday there's a real emergency.