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Posted: July 24, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Hazmat teams stay sharp

So far, equipment has never been needed for an emergency

Molly Lundy/

The Newton County Emergency Medical Services and Paramedics were busy training Thursday. The team had their HAZMAT gear and tent set up in front of the EMS Department, located behind Newton Medical Center.

Director of the EMS Department James Osborn was present during the training and explained that even though this equipment has not been used in an emergency yet, it is good to update the employees on how it all works.

"This equipment is used in case Newton County ever has a chemical spill or emergency where we have to protect our paramedics and patients from a dangerous substance," Osborn said.

The tent, which is equipped with a watering system, is used to clean patients before they enter the hospital, especially if they have been exposed to some type of dangerous chemical.

Paramedic Andrew Strickland, who was wearing the HAZMAT suit for the training session, had a lesson from Osborn on how to put the equipment on properly, how to work the suit’s oxygen tank and what to do once inside the HAZMAT tent.

"This is a good way to train our new employees and familiarize ourselves with the equipment," Osborn said.

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