RUMFORD — The NewPage Corp. paper mill was recognized Tuesday afternoon by county, local and state officials for its “outstanding” safety efforts over the past year.

Paul Ouellette of NewPage accepted the Facility of the Year 2012 award in Rumford Falls Auditorium from Teresa M. Glick, chairwoman of the Oxford County Local Emergency Planning Committee of South Paris.

Glick said the LEPC commends NewPage “for their continued efforts to keep their workplace and the surrounding community safe.”

“It’s an honor,” Ouellette, the mill’s manager of Safety, Security and Emergency Response, said.

He said NewPage has participated with the Oxford County LEPC for a long time. Its rapid response team serves not only the county and the mill, but also the state.

The Rumford mill previously won the LEPC Facility of the Year for its efforts in 2010.

“So, any time we get recognized in this positive manner, it’s a positive thing for the mill,” Ouellette said. “And we’ve got a great team of dedicated employees who participate on that team and that volunteers.”

Glick said the LEPC recognizes facilities with the honor for doing “outstanding planning, exercising, training, and reporting.”

“A lot of this is based off the exercise they did last year with their mill team and the COBRA (Chemical Ordinance Biological Radiation Agents) Team,” Glick said.

On June 2, 2012, 100 people participated in a full-scale hazardous materials response training  at the paper mill. Planning for the exercise began in 2011. It brought together NewPage’s Regional Response Team No. 10 and the Androscoggin COBRA Team, she said.

“NewPage generously offered time and space for the teams to conduct a full-scale exercise at the facility, and the security staff took time to ensure that all 100 participants had an individual identification number for (the mill’s) accountability system,” Glick said in a May 28 letter to the Rumford mill.

“This exercise provided the two teams an opportunity to integrate and learn from one another in a realistic industrial environment where they worked together to resolve many simulated hazardous materials scenarios.”

Glick said participants gained an appreciation for the systems and individuals that maintain the paper mill and the expertise of the mill’s regional response team.

She said the committee continues to see the working relationship between the mill and local first responders grow annually.

“With every exercise that takes place at (the mill), new information is learned and new practices put into place that help shape and improve all of our emergency response plans,” Glick said.

“By opening your doors to the community, you have allowed an open exchange of ideas and planning to take place. We are all better prepared as a result,” she said.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: