Training prepares Ottumwa firefighters for hazmat emergencies

Firefighters practiced with a series of drills Thursday/KTVO

Ottumwa firefighters scaled a tractor-trailer Thursday to plug up a chlorine leak.

It was just a drill. But that might not always be the case.

The training teaches heartland firefighters the safest clean-up techniques for hazmat emergencies.

Often times, a chemical leak happens during a traffic accident so Thursday, firefighters used a tanker prop that models an overturned tractor-trailer.

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Craff said that tool is a new addition to the training this year.

"We're able to use our tank rollover trailer that's furnished by the Iowa state fire service, which is a brand new prop and it's really good because it gives us a chance to do real life drills without having to tear something up,” Craff said.

The eight-hour course begins with instructional videos then moves to hands-on demonstrations.

Over the past year, the department has responded to nine hazmat emergencies.

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