Firefighters Get Meth Lab Training

There have been two meth lab busts in Leon County in the past two weeks, and by all accounts this is only the beginning.

Nationally about a third of meth labs wind up exploding, and firefighters in Florida want to be sure they are prepared and protected.

Firefighters at Tallahassee's station two are getting a refresher course in meth, how to spot a lab and how to decide when the threat of exposure and explosion is more dangerous than the fire itself.

CAPT John Gatlin of the Tallahassee Fire Department said, "If we've ensured that there's no one in there that we can save or that we can ensure their safety is our utmost, then we can evaluate is it time to back out for our safety and just contain the fire."

More than 300 meth labs were raided in Florida last year; 50 of them wound up in flames.

Legislation awaiting the governor's signature would stiffen penalties for meth makers if firefighters or other first responders get hurt answering the call. It would also make sure that those who suffer chemical exposure can't be burned again by insurance companies.

Chief Bruce Ashley of the FL Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations said, "It ensures that if somebody becomes disabled or permanently injured or otherwise injured from meth lab response as a government employee doing their job, that the insurer cannot cancel or otherwise non-renew that policy."

Don't let the recliners fool you. This quick course in meth has potentially lifesaving consequences as the "cook it up in your kitchen" drug is increasingly on the users menu in Tallahassee.

These meth safety courses are being taught at fire stations throughout the state this week as part of Arson Awareness Week. We'll let you know if and when the governor signs that bill.


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