Emergency responders go through field training for hazmat situat - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Emergency responders go through field training for hazmat situations

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PASCO, WA - Emergency responders across the Tri-Cities were busy doing some field training today.

This morning, agencies from all of the Tri-Cities got together, gearing up and getting ready just in case a hazardous material situation ever happens in our area.

Ben Shearer is in charge of Pasco Fire Department's Community Risk and Reduction Unit, and says situations like these are very important in preparing all of our local agencies.

"We are going to start with a fire alarm at the local warehouse here. The Pasco Fire Department will respond."

This morning's training all started with a scanner call drill

"I'm on scene at Road 18," said an officer responding on the scanner. "I'll be participating in the drill."

Once the fire department arrives on the scene, they discover that the substance inside is a hazardous material, so the next step is to call out for the Tri-County Hazmat Team.

"Everybody is a part of the regional Tri-Cities Hazmat Team, so we have different team members that would respond in the Tri-County area," said Shearer. 

Based on the description of the chemical at hand - for example, picric acid, a chemical commonly found in labs, team members responding accordingly.

"Here's the picric acid. This manual will tell us what to do if it spills or leaks," Shearer explains. "It'll also tell us if it's flammable or combustible material."

Sometimes if the material goes beyond the Tri-County hazmat resources, then the State and the Department of Ecology will lend a hand.

Ricky Thomas is with the State's civil support team and says typically his team will respond according to whatever extra resources the local agency may need.

"they say this is what's happening. these are the 5 w's, and then, we will help them accomplish the mission at hand," said ricky thomas.

typically, the state will in bring in resources like medical units, decontamination units, mobile labs- anything to safely get the job done..

the purpose of having state resources here  today….

"for us it's to keep the local community safe and to keep first responders safe," said ricky thomas.  "if we were ever to come out here and we never worked with these guys before, then it would be hard."