Pantex and neighbors helping each other more than ever
Being a good neighbor means looking out for one another. With its rural location, Pantex and the neighboring towns and communities often rely on each other, especially in times of trouble.
Pantex is a part of an ongoing agreement known as a memorandum of understanding (MOU) documenting all parties’ cooperation on emergency matters of mutual concern.
Incidents such as traffic accidents, fires, and medical emergencies are the most common, but even unpredictable events like the train collision outside of Panhandle in June of 2016 are covered under the MOU. Pantex emergency responders were quickly requested that day, and our emergency services were used for two days following the accident.
The purpose of this MOU is to recognize the need for cooperation on emergency matters of mutual concern and to facilitate the development of joint training, plans, and procedures for coordinated responses when either entity requests emergency assistance from the other.
Since 2016, there has been an increase in mutual aid responses. There was a notable dip in 2020, but overall the numbers have been increasing.
“The mission statement of Pantex Fire Department is ’caring for people’ and while the protection of Pantex is our priority, our caring for people does not stop at the boundaries of the plant,” said Pantex Fire Chief Mike Brock. “With NPO's agreement, we are able to participate in MOUs and provide our assistance to neighboring communities. We are blessed to have a very gifted staff, and they enjoy being able to use and sharpen their skills helping others in their time of need.”
While the final numbers for 2022 will not be tallied for a few months, the preliminary numbers of emergency responses off site are ahead of the annual averages. In the first three months of fiscal year 2022, (October, November, and December 2021) there were 27 total mutual aid responses, 15 emergency medical services, 10 fires, and two motor vehicle accidents.
Pantex Chief Mike Brock and Assistant Chief Robert Napp both noted that the emergency assistance being offered is a two-way street, reinforcing the “mutual aid” both offered and received.
“No fire department in the world is so big that it never needs assistance at some point. From FDNY on 9/11 to the Panhandle Fire Department in 2016 with the train wreck, we all need help at times,” added Napp. “The Pantex Fire Department responds to many calls for help from our neighbors. Recently, our mutual relationship with neighboring departments was evident when the PXFD asked for assistance with a wildland fire on our property. Several departments in the area responded and assisted us in controlling the fire.”