EMA urges warning system signup following ammonia leak - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

EMA urges warning system signup following ammonia leak

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Hazmat and fire crews worked quickly to stop an ammonia leak at the BASF plant on Amnicola Highway early Tuesday morning.

BASF makes the material on the back of carpet.

Outside the plant traffic and weather caused more problems for police than the ammonia.

Inside the plant crews were stopping the leak from spreading.

A fire spokesperson says his team was ready.

Bruce Garner says, "We put all our Hazmat technicians through the training that lasted several days and it was for such a scenario."

The chemical company has about 300 employees at two locations in Chattanooga.

It uses chemicals to make products like adhesives. Ammonia is one of the more common chemicals used.

It can cause breathing problems and burning of the eyes.

In an email to Channel 3, the company boasts safety stating, "We are committed to operating facilities in a safe, secure, and environmentally responsible fashion."

Bill Tittle with the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency says, "We were fortunate they did respond quickly, the fire department responded quickly and knocked that fire down quickly."

Tittle says, had this turned into a serious situation, the plans were in place to alert the public using the reverse notification system.

An operator puts the message into a system then calls the public inside a radius.

Tittle says the leak Tuesday was not serious though they are monitoring the plant closely.

"There has to be some health threat," Tittle says. "Or some risk that warrants us to have people evacuate the area or take shelter."

As more people drop the land line, fewer people are on the call list for an emergency.

In fact, only 1-percent of county cell phone users are.

To sign up for the free notification system, click here.

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