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DHS Funding Prepares Firefighters for Chemical Contamination Attacks

Mark Saxenmeyer
KSTP.com [1]
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

They know how to put out fires, deal with burn injuries, and save people from drowning, but when it comes to dealing with chemical accidents or attacks, Minnesota’s firefighters are the first to admit they need more training. Thanks to new grant money from Homeland Security, that’s exactly what they’re getting this summer.

A total of 35 Minnesota fire departments have undergone this training since the program began in April. The Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education says that in the next five years, nearly 800 fire departments in Minnesota are expected to be put through the decontamination drills.

On Tuesday, it was the Maplewood Fire Department’s turn. Firefighters from North St. Paul joined them. Instructors put them through a simulated ammonia spill. Volunteer “victims” provided the drama as the firefighters were shown how to calm them down, keep them orderly, and ultimately, safely hose them down with water.

This training came about after a recent government study found victims of Hazmat situations were too often treated at hospitals, and not at the scene. It determined firefighters nationwide weren’t suitably prepared.

Full story here. [1]