Grand Strand fire departments train for hazmat calls

Grand Strand

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WBTW) – Three fire departments in the Grand Strand trained for hazmat situations on Wednesday.

Midway Fire Rescue, Georgetown County, and Georgetown City Fire Departments worked on communication and teamwork during their drills.

Classes began at 8 a.m. then crews suited up for eight obstacle stations.

News 13’s Elisia Alonso joined the hazmat crews and attempted to complete the drills.

Working in the bulky suit proves challenging, but taking small steps makes moving around easier.

The heat inside of the suit also takes some getting used to, which is why crews train in full gear.

“The temperature in South Carolina is about 100 degrees all the time. So in that suit it adds 20, 30 degrees,” said Justin Lenker of Midway Fire Rescue.

Drill stations are in different elements that include simulation smoke, rescue efforts, and sealing hardware under water.

Crews train with minimal equipment to better prepare for a real call.

“When we add a flashlight to it or we add some sort of device that we can see better, it works. It works for them. So they’re going in there with minimal equipment and hopefully that’s triggering some stuff in their mind of what they should bring later,” said Lenker.

Lenker says hazmat calls are less frequent for fire departments, but full drills are practiced often to keep their skills sharp.

“This is trying to get the rust build off of that, so when that high risk situation happens we’re ready to rock and roll,” said Lenker.

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