Suspicious Substance Tests Fire Fighters Recent Chemical Warfare - WSPA.com

Suspicious Substance Tests Fire Fighters Recent Chemical Warfare Training

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Hazmat Situation At Liberty Square Downtown Greenville Hazmat Situation At Liberty Square Downtown Greenville

Ellis Jackson came back from lunch to find a Hazmat team surrounding his office.  

"When we got back at 1:30 they just wouldn't let us back in the building," Jackson said.  

The One Liberty Square Building was on lock down after reports of a suspicious powder.

Keeping you safe in these high pressure situations takes extensive training.

"They are all technician level training so that's above and beyond just being a fire fighter," Greenville Fire Captain Chris Shipman said.  

Firefighters with this training are prepared to handle weapons of mass destruction and chemical warfare.

"We train for the worst case scenario," Shipman said. "We will bring in different substances and let the guys train and use our detection equipment and they'll be able to tell me what they have and what they detected."

We had the chance to see exactly how a "suspicious powder" is tested, within seconds it revealed this powder was just harmless baby formula.

But not all fire departments have the same high tech equipment.

In Pickens County fire stations are smaller so they rely on the county Hazmat team.

"A lot of people come to us wanting to know are you equipped can you handle things? And we definitely are," Pickens County Hazmat Coordinator Pierce Womack said.

Womack tells us his department has highly specialized training.  

"It's more focused on chemicals , and biological and radiological type things," Womack said.

While many cases end up being false alarms, Ellis Jackson is just glad every call is treated as an actual emergency, and that nothing is taken lightly.

"I don't think anything is lightly anymore. I don't think we can afford to do that, it's unfortunate," Jackson said.

Unfortunate, maybe but in this day in age these fire fighters say its necessary.

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