News>Better safe than sorry: firefighters exercise HAZMAT procedures
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Buckley Fire Department firefighter Eric Pingel, 460th Civil Engineer Squadron, assembles de-contamination equipment for used for hazardous material training Aug. 10, 2012. Buckley firefighters exercise hazardous de-contamination procedures several times a year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Darryl Bolden Jr)
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Buckley Fire Department firefighter Jason DeBord, 460th Civil Engineer Squadron, judges the position of the equipment for hazardous material training, Aug. 10, 2012. At the last station, someone runs a detector that determines if there’s contamination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Darryl Bolden Jr)
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – A group of Buckley Fire Department firefighters prepare to disassemble the de-contamination equipment after their hazardous material training, Aug. 10, 2012. Three wash stations were set up for the training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Darryl Bolden Jr)
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Left to right, Airman 1st Class Allen Patterson, Erik Pingel and Dennis Colgan, all Buckley Fire Department firefighters, wrap up their training after disassembling the training area, Aug. 10, 2012. Buckley firefighters exercise hazardous de-contamination procedures several times a year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Darryl Bolden Jr)
by Senior Airman Christopher Gross
460th Space Wing Public Affairs
8/13/2012 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Safety should never be an afterthought or be taken lightly, that's why Buckley Fire Department firefighters exercise hazardous material de-contamination procedures at least every couple months.
"It's just like everything else," said Buckley Fire Department fire chief Brian Poe, "we prepare for the worst."
Poe said his firefighters would implement these procedures with anything from a rolled over tanker, a weapons attack or anytime they're dealing with any type of unknown substance.
That's why 14 Buckley Fire Department firefighters recently participated in HAZMAT training.
"Even though it doesn't happen a lot, you still never know what can happen. This is why we stay proficient on it," said Buckley firefighter Lt. Jason Kunkel.
Kunkel said, the set-up stage of the training is where his firefighters learn a lot. He said so much goes into setting up the three-part station, it's important they're familiar with it, so they're not trying to figure it out during an emergency.
Three wash stations are set up for the contaminated emergency responders, with somebody at each station to assist them in scrubbing off their suits.
At the last station somebody runs a detector over the responder to see if they've been decontaminated. If they haven't been, then they must repeat the same procedures again until free of contamination. Once de-contaminated their suits are thrown into a sealed container where they'll be cleaned more thoroughly.
Poe said this training is just like any other training they perform, whether it be fire fighting or CPR. It's something that his firefighters could be called upon to do, so it's important they're properly prepared to handle whatever situation comes their way.