BNSF, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Boundary and Bonner County Emergency Management, and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality completed an all-day cold weather oil spill response training on Saturday, Jan. 14th on the Kootenai River.   Approximately 40 Boundary and Bonner County and Tribal first responders, and oil spill contractors were trained in the use of fast water oil spill boom placement, ice cutting and ice rescue techniques. The training took place at the Twin Rivers Hatchery campground in Moyie Springs, Idaho. As part of the training scenario, first responders deployed oil spill boom equipment to protect the hatchery’s water intake in the Kootenai River.

BNSF and contractors exercised the oil spill equipment staged locally at the Twin Rivers Campground and at the
Bonners Ferry Fire Station.  BNSF also mobilized specialized in ice rescue and ice slotting gear to allow first responders to be trained with this equipment.  Thick ice located at the confluence of the Moyie and Kootenai Rivers provided a good opportunity for attendees to practice ice rescue and ice booming strategies. Attendees also learned techniques to self-rescue as well as how to rescue others from icy rivers.

BNSF wants to thank all of the first responders from the North Bench Fire District, South Boundary Fire District, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the Boundary County Sheriff’s Department, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho Police Department, Boundary Search & Dive Rescue Team, and Boundary and Bonner County Emergency Management, among others, for attending the training and partnering to protect the Kootenai River Corridor.