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HazMat team ready

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March 18, 2003

Albany --If there were a biological or chemical terrorist attack on Albany, one of the first responders would be the Albany Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Response Team.

 The team's training has them confident they can handle any situation. Firefighter Roy Brown gears up in a Level A Encapsulated Suit.

 It takes fellow firefighters a couple of minutes to help him suit up. He wears a one-hour air tank, the protective suit, rubber boots over the suit. Two pairs of rubber gloves on the inside of the suit, and then a heavier pair built into the suit. It is so hot inside that his face shield steams up quickly. Brown trains picking up a container with an unknown chemical, and clears it from the building. He has to move slowly and cautiously because the suit is so cumbersome.

Training to work in the Hazmat suit is vital. If there is a chemical spill or a terrorist attack, this truck with the Albany Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Response Team would be called.

Firefighters say homeland security status does not change their watch. Assistant Chief James Carswell says "We are consistent in our duties. We pride ourselves on being ready at any time."

All the Albany Firefighters are trained to use the Hazmat suits and equipment, and say they are ready in case of any emergency.

The Level A Hazmat suit would be used only once in a real chemical or biological emergency. Once contaminated, the suit is disposed of.

posted at 6:49 by jimw@walb.com