Rockland County Fire Training Center hosts 3-day hazmat training course
A first of its kind training happened in Rockland County with representatives from a dozen different agencies throughout the tristate area.
The three-day training led by Louisiana State University happened at Rockland’s Fire Training Center in Pomona, home to the county’s office of Fire and Emergency services.
It helped prepare first responders to do their jobs at a crime scene that has dangerous chemicals that could be used in a terror attack.
“Now we're talking about entering into environments where we have to wear high levels of personal protection in order to protect ourselves from the crime scene because the crime scene's environment can be immediately dangerous to our life and health,” said Edward Wallace, one of the lead instructors.
On Friday, News 12 witness two different mock situations that both involved ricin: A car that had the chemical in it and a secret lab where it was being manufactured.
Trainees were all under the watchful eye of professionals every step of the way.
"They'll be able to respond to a scene like that, protect the public from any further dissemination of these products, identify the people producing them and arrest them," according to Wallace on why it’s important.
News 12 was told that this training was covered by a grant from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“This is like really, real hands on experience,” said Jaclyn MacIsaac, a senior medical investigator for the Rockland Medical Examiner’s office.
She and dozens of others from agencies throughout the tristate area worked together, including law enforcement, medical examiners, and hazmat team members.
She didn't gear up in a hazmat suit but she respects those people even more now.
"I have a newfound respect for hazmat people. Typically, as an investigator for the medical examiner's office, we're going in after the fact. So these guys are all going in first and doing what needs to be done in order to make it safe for us," MacIsaac added.