Almost smack in the middle of Arkansas lies Scott County. Waldron, with a population of just over 3,000, is Scott’s county seat. Waldron was incorporated in 1875 and stretches across 5 square miles.
A big player in the Scott County and Waldron economies is Tyson Foods, which operates a plant in Waldron. And as with any large-scale industrial facility, hazmat is an issue.
Of the facility’s 15 hazmat team members, two or three are on site at all times. The remainder of the team is on call and can respond as needed.
The biggest threat is keeping the ammonia in the pipes contained. In fact, it is the large amount of ammonia they store and use that makes having the hazmat team a requirement. One team member said they have an old system and the team keeps the equipment as safe as possible.
Additionally, Waldron does not have a full-time fire department or any hazmat response capabilities. Tyson’s hazmat team responds to all hazmat calls within the town.
Like much of corporate America, the hazmat team was affected by the Covid pandemic. They lost several team members during the height of Covid. But, one member says, the team remained intact to ensure the hazmat program was ready and able to deploy when needed.
The team trains at least on a quarterly basis. One of the barriers to training is being able to get all the team members together at one time.
Our team is small but still able to keep our complex safe, one member said. Through all the adversity we have faced at our location the team continues to stay focused on our hazmat program.