[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         July 25, 2008
Training

Fort McCoy hazmat team trains 
with La Crosse counterparts

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff  

Photo: Participants in a joint Fort McCoy/La Crosse hazmat exercise inspect a capping kit before entry. (Photo by Adam Ballard)
Participants in a joint Fort McCoy/La Crosse hazmat exercise inspect a capping kit before entry. (Photo by Adam Ballard)

      Regional Hazardous Materials Teams from the Fort McCoy and La Crosse Fire Departments combined to hold their first-ever joint exercise in La Crosse July 10.

      Adam Ballard, a Fort McCoy assistant fire chief, said the training was important because Fort McCoy and La Crosse have the only certified Level A Hazardous Material Teams in the area. Personnel on a Level A Hazardous Materials Team are trained and certified to take offensive measures in a hazardous materials incident.

      "We arranged to have the joint exercise because it is important for us to meet and have a face-to-face encounter with the personnel from the La Crosse team," Ballard said. "Our main goals were to establish a rapport with the team from La Crosse and for our personnel to get to see their capabilities/equipment and to work together."


"We arranged to have the joint exercise because it is important for us to meet and have a face-to-face encounter with the personnel from the La Crosse team."

Adam Ballard,
Fort McCoy Assistant Fire Chief

       The coordination between the two organizations, in addition to the department's mutual aid agreements with neighboring communities, will help the Fort McCoy Fire Department successfully respond to any emergency situations it might face or be called on to support, Ballard said.

        Ballard said the training can act as a force multiplier in that the two organizations could coordinate their resources to respond to an incident that happened anywhere in the area, if necessary.

      La Crosse personnel designed the July 10 exercise to include scenarios it might encounter.     

      The first scenario involved a spilled pail of an unknown substance.      

      The second scenario was a leak of an unknown substance from a pressurized cylinder.

      In both instances, personnel had to go through the proper steps to determine what the substances were and the best ways to mitigate their effects, he said.      

Photo: Fort McCoy and La Crosse hazmat personnel participate in a scenario involving a nitrogen cylinder leak during a joint exercise. (Photo by Adam Ballard)
Fort McCoy and La Crosse hazmat personnel participate in a scenario involving a nitrogen cylinder leak during a joint exercise. 
(Photo by Adam Ballard)

      The personnel from the two organizations were mixed together in the teams responding to the scenarios to further enhance their working relationships, Ballard said.

      Fort McCoy will host an exercise later this year for the two organizations.

      "That exercise will have some scenarios that are relative to the hazards we (potentially can encounter) here at Fort McCoy," Ballard said. "If we find we need each other's assistance in the meantime, we both will be better equipped to assist each other on an emergency response (because of the La Crosse exercise)."

 

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