Bardstown firefighters training for hazmat situations - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bardstown firefighters training for hazmat situations

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BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bardstown firefighters are learning how to respond to hazmat situations this weekend. 

A trailer that says, "Weapons of Mass Destruction, Hazmat 5 Regional Response Team," now sits in front of the department. 

"This is the first time we've had our hands on any of this equipment," said Lt. Scott Lawson, who showed WDRB inside the trailer. 

Local officials say the gear has been sitting untouched for years. 

"It's a big challenge in today's departments because of funding, budget issues," Lawson said. 

Nelson County is responsible for the equipment, but it used to be shared by several counties in the region, according to Nelson County Emergency Services Director Joe Prewitt. 

He says it was purchased roughly 10 years ago using federal grant money after the Sept. 11 attacks. But there have been no active hazmat teams able to use it since 2012. 

"The biggest challenge ... is making sure all the members got their physicals, trainings and stuff updated," Lawson said. 

That, along with keeping up the maintenance,  means the truck, trailer and gear that was once worth more than $300,000 has been going unused. 

That is, until now. 

Lawson says people from Texas A&M will train all 19 members of the city's fire department to become Hazmat Techs. 

"In other words, recognize, identify, contain it and maybe hold the containment until we get a true, big hazmat team to handle the whole situation," Lawson said.  

He says a lot of the equipment in the trailer will need to be replaced, but the goal is to get it functional again over time. 

"We've got to make small steps before we make major steps," Lawson said. 

Fire officials say there will be another training in November, and they hope to have everyone trained by January. 

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