The Director of Emergency Services, Dave Donohue, said it's important for first responders to know how to effectively decontaminate for two major reasons.
"The sooner we get the material off the person, the less damage is being done. the second component has to do with the hospital. Once a hospital emergency room is contaminated, the hospital has to be shut down until it can be decontaminated," Donohue said.
"Our intent is if our victim comes from a chemical incident, they are decontaminated prior to getting to the hospital and reduce the spread of decontamination," Donohue added.
The trainer of the course, Tom Buchan, said mass contamination is rare, but does happen. He said it's better to know how to handle the situation than not.
"(It's) a safety issue for the firefighters that they recognize when a hazardous material spill occurs, and what they should do and who they should notify," Buchan said.
Firefighter Keith Carbaudh said even though he's been to trainings like this before, he always learns something new.
"In trainings, I always learn something new. Different approaches to two pumpers doing mass decons with the aerial ladder, and different configurations," Carbaudh said.
The emergency service team said the goal for decontaminating someone is to dilute the chemical or hazardous material down to where it's not as lethal or dangerous to the skin.
The training is free and is required by Pennsylvania law for firefighters to have decontamination training.
The next training class involving decontamination techniques will be October 31st.
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