Bluffton Fire Township conducts hazmat spill training simulation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Bluffton Fire Township conducts hazmat spill training simulation

BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) -

The Bluffton Township Fire District battled a pretend chemical spill behind a gas station on Buckwalter Parkway Tuesday for a training simulation.

Firefighters had to treat it like a real hazardous material situation and contain the spill before anyone was exposed to the dangerous chemical.

In the last month, firefighters in the Lowcountry have responded to two actual hazmat situations.

“If we don’t contain it, and learn how to isolate the incident, many people can be affected,” said Capt. Randy Hunter, Bluffton Township Fire District.

Bluffton firefighters were taught how to properly handle the spills to keep themselves, and the public out of harm’s way. It takes meticulous training to deal with dangerous chemicals.

“They came up with binoculars, identified the chemical and now the hazmat team is here. We got the decon set up, the hazmat technicians are going to go in and contain the spill and then they’re going to come back out and get decontaminated,” said Capt. Hunter. “Depending on what type of chemical we have, there’s vapor clouds. There’s a ton of chemicals especially nowadays. We need to know how they each react, especially chlorine, it’s really dangerous if it’s not handled correctly.”

The decontamination training is just as important as containing the spill. If it’s not done right, someone could get hurt.

“If we’re not cleaned correctly, then I come out and I spread it to somebody else. It’s imperative that we are decontaminated so we’re not spreading any of the chemicals,” said Capt. Hunter.

Fire officials said hazmat situations are unusual, but since trucks carry chemicals throughout the area on a daily basis, they have to be ready for any situation.  

“It’s important if we have an incident on I-95 or if there was an incident, we’re going down to assist Hardeeville,” said Capt. Hunter.

Firefighters receive this training every year and 24 crews will take part in the hazmat simulations throughout next week.

Fire officials said the district responds to about four or five hazmat situations every year. 

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