Crews Practice Worst-Case Scenario

By: Haley Harrison Email
By: Haley Harrison Email

Hazardous materials crews from around the country rushed to Eastern Mennonite University Thursday morning, but it was just a drill.

Using actors, rescue teams played out the scenario wherein someone intentionally exposed an EMU classroom to a farm chemical. Harrisonburg Fire Chief Larry Shifflett says his department needs days like this to help firefighters protect themselves so they can better protect you.

"They go in and become contaminated and become as sick as the students and somebody's going to have to come in and rescue them. So they have to be very careful as to how they approach the scene so the themselves do not become victims," says Shifflett.

During Thursday's drill, firefighters rescued the victims, decontaminated them, then went back inside the building to find and clean up the hazardous chemical. A similar fake HAZMAT spill happens once a year, so crews can hone their skills.


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