DFD trains with National Guard hazmat team
The Demopolis Fire Department welcomed the 46th Civil Support Team from Montgomery to town Wednesday to increase their hazmat training.
The 46th CST specializes in weapons of mass destruction and biological and chemical threats, both terrorist and accidental. They are fully ready to assist civil authorities like the Demopolis Fire Department in responding to domestic incidents. The team is a unit in the National Guard, and all of the members of the team do this work full-time.
“Doing this training together allows us to get to know each other in case we have to work together one day,” DFD Chief Tommy Tate said. “It’s good to know who you’re working with when there’s that type of situation.”
Maj. Erich Babbitt from the 46th CST said it’s always better to be familiar with who you’re working with when.
“It’s much better to say ‘how are you,’ instead of ‘who are you,’ when you respond to a biological or chemical incident,” Babbitt said. “It gives my guys confidence to know who they’re working with, and it also gives the civil authorities confidence.”
Capt. James Bailey, training officer for the Demopolis Fire Department, said having a working relationship with the CST could be beneficial for the city in case of an emergency.
“If we had a tornado that came through and took out all of our cell towers, they have a communications truck that they could bring out to allow the different emergency personnel to be able to communicate,” Bailey said. “When they are called out to an area, they don’t have to bring all of their equipment. We can get pieces of this team depending on the situation.”
The Demopolis Fire Department already has some hazmat equipment, and working with the CST will help them be more familiar with the equipment.
“This is a great opportunity for us to train,” Tate said. “They can help show us how to use certain equipment that we don’t get much of a chance to use.”
The CST demonstrated to the DFD the method they use for decontamination, and the DFD then showed what equipment they have and how they deal with a chemical situation.
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