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1 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Firefighters head for the building housing the simulated biohazard threat during training Oct. 13. (Photo Credit: Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL
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2 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A firefighter gets a medical check before suiting up and responding to a simulated biohazard threat during a hazardous material response exercise conducted between the Army National Guard 46th Civil Support Team out of Montgomery and the Fort Rucker Fire Department Oct. 13. (Photo Credit: Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL
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3 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Fort Rucker firefighters perform a test on a HAZMAT response suit during an exercise at the fire department training ground Oct. 13. (Photo Credit: Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL
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4 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Firefighters check the functionality of a HAZMAT response suit. (Photo Credit: Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL
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5 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Fort Rucker firefighter prepares to test a substance found in the building during biohazard response training Oct. 13. (Photo Credit: Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL
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6 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – After exiting the building where the simulated threat was located, a firefighter goes through the decontamination process. (Photo Credit: Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL
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7 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A firefighter who just wrapped up his portion of the exercise briefs others who are about to enter the building. (Photo Credit: Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Fort Rucker Fire Department took steps to better protect the community it serves by conducting hazardous materials training with the Army National Guard 46th Civil Support Team out of Montgomery Oct. 13-14.

Events such as this one not only refresh firefighters on HAZMAT response, but they also help the fire department build relationships with outside agencies they may work with during real-world emergencies on post, according to Wayne Stell, Directorate of Public Safety deputy chief for fire and emergency services.

“This was a great training opportunity for our department,” Stell said. “The event was focused on biohazard refresher training. We received a class on proper identification, handling and mitigation of a biohazard threat. Personnel then performed a full-scale exercise to test our response capabilities and identify areas for improvement.”

The training began with the 46th CST providing fire department personnel with a capabilities briefing, while the firefighters also let the visitors know what their capabilities include before moving onto the exercise portion, he added.

“Overall, we performed successfully and identified areas for improvement, which was the intention of the training,” Stell said. “The 46th CST provided valuable information to help our organization respond to potential biohazardous emergencies.”

The hard work put in by the fire department personnel over the two days will pay dividends into the foreseeable future, the deputy chief added.

“The information provided by the 46th CST can now be used to improve our response capabilities,” Stell said. “Receiving outside agency evaluations provides a system of checks and balances for our department. We can now take this information and incorporate it into our training.”