Albany firefighters train tough for hazardous materials - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany firefighters train tough for hazardous materials

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Firefighters may be the first emergency workers to show up in case of a chemical spill or terror attack, and they train to be ready to help.

To maintain the department's high ISO rating of 2, Albany firefighters get at least six hours of hazardous materials training a year to comply with national standards.

Firefighters are trained on three levels of hazmat response: awareness, operations, and technician.

In one exercise Albany Firefighters go over the nationally recommended steps to decontaminate a victim who has come in contact with a hazardous material.

Firefighters set up a shower system and use hoses to wash as much of the hazardous material off the victim as possible.

"We don't want to get the product on ourselves, because then we are not part of the solution, we're a part of the problem," said Albany Fire Department Captain Eugene Anderson.

Since the 9/11 terror attacks, first responders spend more time preparing for the worst, so they  can be ready in case of any hazmat event.

"Since 9/11 it's really become more standardized nationally," said Albany Fire Department Training Officer Jason Ribolia "That's what we're basically doing. Coming into that national standard with everybody."

All Albany Firefighters are going through hazmat training in November, because they know that an accident could happen at any time.

"Hazardous materials are on the roads everyday," Anderson "Out there on the bypass. We have trucks that are carrying gasoline, diesel, cryogenics."

And this same training is carried on at most Georgia fire departments, so that if something happens in the region, they will all have the same training in how to handle the situation.

"If it's something that we couldn't handle on the local level, we're able to go up and get all the resources that we need, said Ribolia. "In the case of like a terrorist incident or something along those lines."

Firefighters drilling daily on how to care for hazmat victims, knowing that it could mean life or death for victims if it's a real emergency.

Firefighters say they are like a ball team. They practice constantly, so that when a real hazmat emergency happens they know what to do.

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