Haz Mat Teams Train Together In Manhattan

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Manhattan firefighters are teaming up with members of the National Guard this week and braving the heat for some hands-on training.

The Manhattan Fire Department is conducting hazardous materials training with the Kansas National Guard 73rd Civil Support Team on July 8th, 9th and 10th.

The training will be held at Marlatt Hall, a residence hall on the Kansas State University campus, with local law enforcement agencies also participating. WIBW got to see the crews in action Tuesday as they handled a mock scenario with different fake hazards placed inside dorm rooms.

This annual exercise will test the teams’ ability to have an integrated response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosives (CBRNE) incident, the Manhattan Fire Department said.

"Haz mat is important. It’s not something that we deal with everyday. It’s one of those things that if we can train together, find out if there’s any deficiencies or any skills that we’re really good at or that we can communicate with the 73rd on, we can get those out there so that we’re better trained for real life situations should they ever arise," said MFD Assistant Chief Mike Kaus, who oversees training and safety for the department.

The MFD's Hazardous Materials Team provides response within the City limits, but also serves as a regional response team for the State of Kansas. The team consists of nationally accredited hazardous materials technicians and operations support personnel, who are fully equipped to enter the area immediately surrounding the hazardous material in order to monitor the environment and mitigate an incident.

The 73rd Civil Support Team is a team of highly-trained Kansas Army and Air National Guard personnel who support local, state and federal agencies responding to an incident involving weapons of mass destruction. The 73rd CST of the Kansas National Guard is charged with providing support to civil authorities at any domestic CBRNE incident site by identifying agents/substances, assessing current and projected consequences, advising on response measures and assisting with appropriate requests for state support.

“Haz mat-related incidents can be anything from a battery spill to something along the lines of what we’re dealing with today.. Our firefighters are doing training every other month or monthly sometimes on theses kinds of incidents and staying up on their training so that when we have something like this, they should be blindsided and should have their skills up to where they can do the research and find out what chemicals are involved and what we can forecast as taken place," Kaus told WIBW.