Emergency Crews Use Scares As Training - WSET.com - ABC13

Emergency Crews Use Scares As Training

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Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum | Videographer: Jonathan Merryman

Danville, VA - The month of July certainly put the Danville emergency crews to the test. First, you may remember, the scare at the Post Office. Then, a week later, another scare at the Goodyear Plant. Luckily for everyone, those turned out to not be as serious as anticipated.

One scare after another kept Danville emergency crews on their toes.

"First time we had Friday the thirteenth twice in one month," said Tommy Pruett, Executive Director of Danville Life Saving Crew.

First, the Danville Post Office reported a suspicious chemical. After an evacuation, the Fire Department found a container had ruptured, leaking a substance similar to pepper spray. Days later, crews were called to the Goodyear Plant for what seemed to be a pipe bomb left in a truck. They determined it was just a training device.

"Every call that we respond to we learn from. We always come back and critique what we have done and that is how we learn," said Richie Guill, Hazmat Team.

And that's exactly what they did, once the emergency was lifted, the response became a learning experience.

"It throws you into a mode of this could happen again. How can we expedite the service to each other. And sometimes that's the bulk of what comes out of an incident of this nature," said Steve Dishman, Assistant Chief Danville Fire Department.

Richie Guill has worked with the Hazardous materials team for 8 years and says calls of this magnitude are rare, so it's important to learn from them.

"It's a way to take something that looks good on paper and actually put it in process and see how it actually works out and then go back and revamp what we need to," said Guill.

And it seemed to work.

"The response at Goodyear I thought was even better and I'm sure that part of that was because we had practiced," said Pruett.

Another aspect of these responses is the need to work with other agencies. That's something they don't often get to do during their training.

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