If Pittsburg has to deal with a chemical spill, expect Pittsburg Police Officers to be ready.

If Pittsburg has to deal with a chemical spill, expect Pittsburg Police Officers to be ready.
Police officers attended training earlier this week to regain certification on hazardous materials, a training session taught and hosted by Pittsburg firefighters at the new Fire Station No. 1.
Thirty-eight officers have attended the class so far, with the remaining officers set to take the course next week. Mike Simons and Jim Radell, Pittsburg firefighters and training officers, taught the class.
“When you’re dealing with hazardous materials, there are awareness levels,” Simons said. “So we went through the different stages of hazards and identification measures.”
Simons said a large portion of the class focused on actual examples that could be found in books that firefighters carry in their apparatus.
“We want to be able to identify and trace what exact chemicals they are,” Simons said. “And then your book tells you what the isolation measures should be, whether you have to keep people 1,000-feet away or so. It also helps to tell us how to deal with it, whether to spray water on it or use a different type of measure.”
The training also had a section that focused on officers’ actions during a fire.
“A great thing about seeing every policeman is that we can talk with them about fire scenes,” Simons said. “There are things they do right now that really help us out, and we can tell them how to help us even more. A lot of it deals with their safety as well. We don’t want them to go rushing in if they aren’t protected.”
The training took place in the fire building’s training room, one that has access to wireless Internet, tables and more comfortable seating.
“It’s really a great improvement over our old one,” Simons said. “We can use visuals to see videos of incidents, tanker cars and explosions, so they aren’t just looking at words.
“Comfort-wise, there’s a lot more room,” Simons said. “At the old building, the training room was also the weight room, so the seats were metal and the lighting was poor. It really makes a big difference.”
The room isn’t quite completed — Scott Crane, interim Pittsburg Fire Chief, said firefighters were awaiting the installation of permanent overhead projectors. Still, he said the room had already shown its potential.
“That training room is really nice,” Crane said. “We are really going to utilize it a lot. The great thing about it is that we have the facilities now to bring in outside agencies. It’s really a great thing for us.”

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at kevin.flaherty@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134