FRUITA, Colo. (KJCT/KKCO) -- The term 'hazmat' refers to any unknown material (gas, liquid, or solid) that could pose a threat to the public.
For three days first responders from across the state gathered at Lower Valley Fire in Fruita to prepare to handle exactly those substances.
“We train first responders to address personal protective equipment that they wear, and metering equipment to make sure they’re safe in an environment, and then to take samples of substances so they can get transported back to the lab.” Joseph Wilson, one of the instructors said.
He's from the National Center for Biomedical Training at Lousiana State University, and travels to train teams nationwide.
The program is sponsored in part by the Department of Homeland Security.
Most places have specialized Hazmat teams, “But that’s not to say that if a smaller agency gets on scene first that they don’t need to have that initial expertise knowledge to relay information back to the larger agency.” Chief Frank Cavalier of Lower Valley Fire explained.
He says there is also a networking benefit to the class.
First responders from across the state gathered in Fruita, “When we do this sort of thing, they introduce each other, they get introduced to each other, so it’s not the first time they’ve worked together when real events take place.” Wilson said.