First responders take part in hazmat training - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

First responders take part in hazmat training

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WSIL -- The Illinois Fire Service Institute is holding a two-day hazmat training session for first responders in the region. The class kicked off Tuesday morning at the at the West City Community Center and will continue to Wednesday afternoon.

Matt Bryan, Field Instructor for the Illinois Fire Service, says the program teaches participants how to teach others in their department about hazardous material incidents.

"We talk about the nuances of the program and how to become an effective instructor to be able to train other individuals in the awareness program," Bryan explains.

Multiple agencies are taking part including Franklin County Emergency Management, as well as, Benton and West City Fire Departments. A firefighter from Godrey also traveled down for the training session. 

Benton Firefighter Alex Melvin says the session will allow him to instruct local law enforcement, EMS and city workers how to contain a hazardous material situation safely, "Gives us the steps of what to do next, so block the area off and call the right resources in." 

Melvin, who is also an EMT, says there has been several hazmat situations at residential homes, "Mixing two chemicals together trying to clean their drains out or some sort of that."

West City Fire Chief Amos Abbott says teaching these skills to others is imperative due to transportation routes in our area, "90% of your hazardous materials is transported either by road or by rail, so we have one of the busiest stretches of I-57 in our area." 

Both Melvin and Abbott say by teaching first responders how to better handle hazardous situations, it will also keep residents safe. 

During day two of the training, participants will do "teach backs" showing the instructor they have successfully retained all the material. Then after completing the program, they'll be certified by the Illinois Fire Service and Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

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