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Pennsylvania Firefighters Prepare For “The Big One”

Talk to any emer­gency respon­der in a nat­ural gas drilling-heavy area of Penn­syl­va­nia, and he'll prob­a­bly tell you it's 'only a mat­ter of time' before a Mar­cel­lus Shale well blows up.

Whether it's the antic­i­pated 'big one,' or day-to-day injuries on site, the nat­ural gas boom is cre­at­ing new chal­lenges for fire­fight­ers and the Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner's Office is working to pre­pare emer­gency respon­ders for when the call arrives.

In Lock Haven, Clin­ton County, about 20 emer­gency respon­ders are sit­ting in a fire hall, learn­ing the details of how a nat­ural gas well is "fracked." A voiceover explains the details in a video, as muzak plays in the back­ground: "It takes over 350 pieces of pipe, weigh­ing nearly 87 tons, to drill a 10,500-foot well," the voice explains.

Read or listen to the full story here.