Environmental Response Training

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In the event of a biological or chemical disaster, one Florida agency is ensuring quick control of the situation.

An intense training event is preparing emergency responders for the worst. First, members of the Environmental Response Team get their blood pressure and other vitals checked before they go into what's called a stressful environment.

"They're going to check basic things to make sure we are healthy before we go in.”

"Even in a training evolution you get excited, the anxiety is up you want to do everything right."

The team is getting trained on how to respond during a biological or chemical disaster.

Dennis Skelly, the team leader, says, "We have one of many training sessions for team members to practice skills they need to employ should an event occur."

Team members are fully dressed in protective gear that includes a breathing apparatus, all of which may be a bit uncomfortable, but it prepares them for the real thing.

Skelly adds, "The discomfort of it all, the impediment of sight and sound and communication are very real."

Two at a time they enter a mock contaminated area, investigate the scene and take control of the situation.

Skelly says, "Collect samples of the contaminates so we can determine what and how to deal with them safely."

This team is preparing for the worst, and if a disaster does strike they're hoping these tactics will help keep the public in good hands.

This is the fourth year for the training event. The Environmental Response Team consists of several state and local groups including the Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.