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Chillicothe Gets $120,000 in Grants to Equip CDES to Respond to Hazardous Material Calls
Published: Friday, June 6, 2008, C-T

CAPTION - The Chillicothe Fire Department and surrounding areas took part in a 40-hour hazardous materials technical course through the University of Missouri. Grants amounting to nearly $120,000 paid for the equipment, which includes a truck, a specially-equipped trailer, and training.

Submitted Photo, C-T

June 6, 2008 - Chillicothe Fire Department personnel have completed hazardous material or "hazmat" technical classes. With this training, the fire department will be able to better assist when a spill happens, said Joe Rinehart, director of Chillicothe Department of Emergency Services. The fire department received about $120,000 in grants to cover the cost of the training, a truck, a specialized trailer and the equipment that would be used if a spill occurs, Rinehart said.

The department took 40 hours of training from an instructor from the University of Missouri who set up situations the department could face in the future with hazardous materials, Capt. Paramedic Darrell Wright said. Classes for the fire department focused on training the crew on containing and decontamination of hazardous materials, Wright said. Seventeen Chillicothe Fire Department members took part in the class as well as others from area departments. While no major spill or accident containing hazardous materials has occurred in the past locally the precaution is necessary, Rinehart said. "It's planning for the future. We are just getting in line for what will come" Rinehart said in reference to the expansion of Highway 36 to four lanes across the state which is likely to boost truck traffic on the east-west corridor.

Before the training, the department could only work defensively by blocking the area in danger. With the training the fire department can now assist with the cleaning up of the hazardous materials, Wright said. When a situation occurs with hazardous materials the fire department will work with Region H HazMat Response Team in St. Joseph as they always have, Rinehart said. "We were always in defensive mode; now, we are in offensive mode," Wright said. The training classes were held on the weekends of May 16-18 and May 30 through June 1.

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