Firefighters spend hot afternoon in hazmat suits -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters spend hot afternoon in hazmat suits

Valdosta firefighters spent the hot afternoon in hot hazmat suits. It wasn't an emergency.

They were training to make sure they're ready to deal with a dangerous chemical situation.

Firefighters suit up in hazmat gear shortly before two Wednesday afternoon at their training center on Blanchard Street.

 "It's hot," said Lt. Tyler Shoemake. "That's the one word to describe."

"I don't know if I'd call it acclimated, you never get use to those suits," said Capt. Ken Gallagher.

It may be a hot afternoon but they still train so they'll be ready for a hazardous disaster.

"We check their blood pressures before and after," said Gallagher. "We limit the amount of time they're inside that suit.  It's taxing on our personnel."

"We try to go in and you try to do as much as you can as quick as you can and get out and alot of that depends on how much info we get on arrival," said Shoemake.

Valdosta has so much industry there's a potential for dangerous chemical accidents and that's why it's important firefighters train.

Firefighters walk inside the building and investigate. Firefighters radio in information on the containers to identify the chemicals.

Research shows these two chemicals cannot touch or else they'll explode. They work to mitigate the problem.

"They're doing great," said Gallagher. "It's a pretty seasoned group of guys. We have a number of technician leveled people on all shifts. It's routine stuff for us."

And while hazmat situations don't happen on a regular basis they still must be prepared.

Capt. Ken Gallagher estimates there are about 30,000 common industrial chemicals.

He says they do hazmat training throughout the year.

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