weekend Lieutenant Dan Walsh and Firefighter Bill James participated in a
training exercise with The Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Task Force.
Task Force was formed in 1998 in response to a growing awareness of the threat
of terrorism. The force is staffed by five counties; Bucks, Chester, Delaware,
Montgomery and Philadelphia. In recent years, the Task Force has broadened its
focus to include all hazards including natural disasters. The Task Force continually
trains and prepares for catastrophic events, and has been deployed many times.
weekend's event took place at the Philadelphia Fire Academy. All five counties
that make up the task force participated in the training.
scenario based training simulated a dangerous chemical being released into the
air. Teams from each county were required to determine what type of chemical
was released, the danger associated with it, and how to mitigate the situation.
Each team had an opportunity to gear up in full Hazmat suits and stop the release.
and James assisted by manning the decontamination station. They removed
contaminants from the Hazmat technicians after they completed their mission of
controlling and containing the hazardous gas.
After the clean-up they used test equipment to determine if the
participant was cleared to leave the hazardous zone.
exercises were a success, and should instill confidence in the residents of the
region that if an incident like this should occur; the Task Force is prepared
to quickly and safely control the event.