NORFOLK, Neb. (KCAU) — From a mass-casualty event to a train derailment, first responders have to be prepared for many different kinds of emergencies. On Tuesday, the City of Norfolk’s first responders got hands-on training.
Both Norfolk Police Division (NPD) and Norfolk Fire Division (NFD) said the training helped ensure all first responders have the knowledge, and capability to handle a hazardous material situation should it come up.
“We partnered with the Norfolk Fire Division Hazardous Response Team along with our tactical response team,” said Captain Michael Bower, with the NPD.
The simulation started with law enforcement locating hazardous material in an abandoned building.
“Law enforcement would go in and do a search of this building. they came across a dry product,” said Assistant Chief Trever O’Brien.
Once the hazardous material was found, law enforcement called in the fire department’s hazardous response team.
“We had a drill set up where we had a hazmat response, so went out to our airport. Which was the incident location and we’re attempting to figure out what kind of products were out there from a hazmat standpoint,” said Chief O’Brien.
When the material was identified, the fire department would then call in the Civil Support Team.
The point of the simulation is to ensure first responders know what to do when faced with hazardous materials.
“All of our guys know how to handle certain situations. However, when you throw them the curve ball, that’s when you really have to start thinking outside the box. and that’s what we were trying to do with the hazardous material,” said Captain Bower.
“These drills really test our capabilities from a response standpoint, so rather than focusing on certain parts of hazmat. we’re actually able to look at our response, each piece of that response and how we can improve and make that better. What resources it actually takes to be able to respond to an incident like this,” said Chief O’Brien.
The simulation was set up by the Weapons of Mass Destruction – Civil Support Team, tasked with preparing the United States against hazardous weapons.