Anniston officers train with DHS

ANNISTON, Ala (WIAT) — Would you know what to do during a chemical disaster? In just a few days several Anniston Police officers will be able to answer yes. CBS 42 was with them today as they completed part of their training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness.

“Now you want to to cut, and run those sheers all the way up,” says an instructor showing students how to remove clothing from a mannequin.

Although it’s hard to imagine the type disaster that would require such precise response for carefully removing clothes and bagging them as evidence. But such scenarios are not so far fetched and could even be used close to home.

“There are people who produce Meth that can cause explosions or chemicals that can be harmful to them,” says Officer Donald McGraw of the Anniston Police Department.

McGraw is one of six Anniston officers training here at the Center for Domestic Preparedness.

Another instructor shows the group how to use masks and breathing equipment properly. It’s that equipment that will keep them safe and contamination free not just in this demonstration room but also at the end of the week when their skills are put to the test.

“Friday we’re dealing with big stuff,” says McGraw.  “Live nerve agents, stuff that can cause serious harm to your body.”

Students also learn about the importance of a decontamination shower, and they also learn how to, in a pinch, make one from everyday materials.

But officials say one of the biggest benefits of training here is being able to get the jitters out in a controlled environment.

“They’re actually experiencing it in a real setting,” says Clay Calkins of the Department of Homeland Security. “With real equipment, getting real readings, with real people. And it’s the closest thing you can get to an event or WMD without having a disaster or an all hazard event.”

2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

Since the center opened in 1998 more than 800-thousand students have gone through disaster training.

WIAT CBS 42 2014

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