The Hazmat Team are training for a term called 'Chemical Hide and Go Seek.'
The Hazmat Team Lead for Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services, Chris McLennon says, "I've kind of hiding some chemicals in there, and the guys have gone in with some detection gear. They had to make an attempt to find out where it's located, and then bring it out using some of our other advanced monitors to determine what that chemical was. Something that we may see quite a bit in town, we do get quite a few calls for unknown odours, and this is the way we go about taking care of those things."
There are currently 35 members on the Hazmat Team, and most are volunteers from the department. The suits they are wearing are Level A chemical protective.
"There isn't anything that would be above that. So those guys have the absolute gold standard of protection in there. Then we also have the accountability piece, where we know where any of our team members are at any given time. We can also have guys suited up to attain a rescue if they had to," adds McLennon.
The team covers calls all over the County says McLennon, "We do a lot of work with the railroads, and all the industry in the County. So, generally when we do the full team callouts, you'll find us out in the County. With our trailer here, and the tent down at this end, we're pretty self-sufficient. We do have to leave town for quite a bit of time. We bring our own power, air, nutrition, and water with us."
McLennon adds that the team trains with police for meth labs situations as well, "We're all aware of the fentanyl crisis that's been going on. There has been a huge call for us to come in and identify unknown white powders to determine whether or not it is fentanyl, or any of those other hazardous opioids."
McLennon says that had this been a real call, they would've had all 35 team members there, "And anytime there's a guy in a suit, we're going to have two backup teams. So, we'll have six guys suited up, and that's just for protection so that we can go in and get our guys if there was any kind of negative outcomes."
For Bridge City News, I'm Micah Quinn.