The city of Valdosta has invested several thousands of dollars in its Hazmat team, especially after the events of 9/11, and the state has stepped in to make sure the team is ready for any hazardous material or bioterror situation.
"GEMA gave us $117,000 and another $200,000 to buy additional equipment for bio-hazardous, chemical, radiation type equipment for our Hazmat program," says J.D. Rice, Valdosta fire chief.
Recently, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency awarded Lowndes County Fire Rescue a $30,000 grant to train firefighter volunteers to assist the city's Hazmat team.
"We'll be able to train 15 people for the awareness, MPQ awareness level, the operations level, and these 15 people will go on the technician level."
After 80 hours of training, the firefighters will be certified and can be called at a moment's notice to back the city's team, and if needed, the county can replace members of the team after hours of being on the scene.
The grant is a huge step for both fire departments that have already worked in partnership in the past. Out of the 250 county firefighter volunteers, only 15 will be trained for the Hazmat program. Fortunately, many are already Hazmat technicians in the private industry.