Haz Mat training in Russell County

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - The Russell County Department of Homeland Security is making sure agencies in the area are prepared for any type of emergency.

Whether there is a bomb scare, a hostage situation or a hazardous spill. The agencies in Russell County are training to be handle the emergency.

President of the Russell County Firefighters Association, Tim Jenkins said, "Each department in the county trains together at least once a quarter, a big exercise like this is usually once a year."

The Russell County Director of Homeland Security, William Alexander added, "This exercise will do two things for us, it will gauge our experience and knowledge dealing with a hazardous material spill and it will also identify any deficiencies that some of these first responders may have. Once those are identified we can work together correcting those and providing a better service."

The county even has a new piece of equipment to help detect hazardous materials. The $18,000 indicators were made possible by a state grant and will make the job a lot easier.

Alexander told News Leader Nine, "In the past we've had to rely on other agencies if we had a possible hazardous material spill or an accident. Not saying we won't have to depend on them in the future, but this would speed up the process."

Jenkins explained, "We will train within our departments periodically to make sure we're up to date on the machine and be able to use it properly to help us identify chemicals."

During the training sessions county agencies practice sceneries -- such as hazardous waste spills or a gunman at a local school -- then they work as a team to map out possible solutions. William Alexander says it's just another step in making sure everyone is always prepared.

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