Deer Creek Station hosts tour for Aurora Volunteer Fire Department

Jim Gerlach, Deer Creek Station maintenance supervisor, presenting a $500 donation to the Aurora Volunteer Fire Department in South Dakota. 

Safety is a priority for Basin Electric and its subsidiaries. That is why keeping strong relationships with local emergency responders is so important. On Feb. 7, Deer Creek Station, Basin Electric’s natural gas-fueled combined cycle generation unit near Brookings, South Dakota, hosted a tour with the Aurora (South Dakota) Volunteer Fire Department to grow their working relationship and prepare them in the case of an emergency.

The tour allowed firefighters to see the plant under ideal and stress-free conditions. They were able to ask questions and understand the layout and operation of the plant to give them knowledge on what to expect should they ever need to respond to an emergency situation.

Chris Karch, Deer Creek Station operations supervisor, showing Aurora volunteer firefighters the control room at Deer Creek Station.

Jim Gerlach, maintenance supervisor at Deer Creek Station, says having a strong relationship with local emergency responders ensures a well-trained and knowledgeable crew showing up to any plant emergency.

“Having a good relationship with local emergency responders gives the plant crews a sense of ease,” says Gerlach. “If an emergency should occur, they have a dependable group to provide assistance.”

Deer Creek Station makes an effort to have their local fire departments (Brookings, Aurora, Elkton, and White, all in South Dakota, and Hendricks, Minnesota) to the site annually. These annual meetings include plant staff reviewing the Emergency Action Plan, site layout, and a plant tour for the fire departments.

“We hope the Aurora Volunteer Fire Department gained a good understanding of the plant layout, hazards, and operational overview,” says Gerlach. “We want the plant layout to feel familiar to the firefighters so they feel comfortable coming on-site.”

A $500 donation was also given to the Aurora Volunteer Fire Department during this tour.

Aurora volunteer firefighters during their tour of Deer Creek Station.