Newnan Fire Department will be conducting Hazardous Materials (Haz-Mat) training this week along with the City of Carrollton Fire Department. The training will be at Newnan Coweta Public Safety Training Center on Greison Trail on March 31st beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The Newnan Fire Department is a member of the West Georgia Regional Haz-Mat Team. The team was established in 1995 with the Fire Departments of Bremen, Carroll County, Carrollton, Haralson County, Heard County, Newnan, and Tallapoosa participating as members. Additionally, the members of the Newnan Haz-Mat Team attend joint training sessions in Carrollton.
According to Newnan Fire Chief David Whitley, “These training sessions allow the members from various agencies to work together before they are put in a dangerous environment”.
According to Lt. Brian Shadrix of the City of Carrollton Fire Department, “The Regional Haz-Mat Team provides the citizens of the member agencies with a level of protection not achievable by an individual unit. Teamwork is the key.”
Newnan Haz-Mat Team members are reviewing the operations of various meters on the Hazardous Materials truck. The meters measure and identify toxins in the environment. The meters range in specialty for the identification of agents from Anthrax to radiation. The response team is capable of detection and identification of toxins including chemicals that are solids, liquids or gases, along with biological agents, radiological agents, nerve gases, mustard gases and blistering agents.
In addition, the Regional Team has a mobile decontamination unit with hot and cold running water to clean toxins from people in the field. This is an important step in the rescue process. By performing decontamination on a person several goals are achieved; first, by removing the agent from the person you reduce the amount of toxins the body will absorb, second, you keep the immediate area from becoming contaminated and last, you prevent the local emergency department from becoming “dirty”. If the emergency department becomes “dirty” with toxins, then the entire department would have to be closed to the public until it could be cleaned.
The Haz-Mat Team also responds to any request made by the Georgia Mutual Aid Group or Federal Government in the mitigation of incidents involving hazardous materials including: fuels, chemicals, radiological materials, biological agents, and weapons of mass destruction.
The Regional Team consists of members from each of the Fire Departments listed above, providing approximately 150 personnel for response to an incident. The team is equipped with a tractor drawn trailer including a command module, level A Haz-Mat Entry suits, tools, self contained breathing apparatus, monitoring/metering equipment, decontamination equipment, power generator, light tower, computer equipment, chemical library and communications equipment.