First responders participate in HAZMAT exercise

WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) – More than 60 first responders from around the Capital Region, including weapons of mass destruction team continued their work on Thursday acting as if two terrorists simultaneously attacked different spots of the post.

A simulated emergency dispatch call came in around 9:25 a.m. Thursday morning for a multiple terrorist attack on the Watervliet Arsenal. Local police, fire and EMS units, along with the National Guard all scrambled to the site.

The incidents centered around four specific issues: a sulfur dioxide leak, chlorine spill, rail car leak, and a rescue. All four strikes painted a picture of nuclear, biological, radiological and chemical disasters.

Security and hazmat teams were also involved in the process as they helped contain the situation.

Incident Commander and Assistant Watervliet Arsenal Fire Chief Ken Havlind said having all these things happening at once put an unimaginable kind of stress on first responders.

“To get working with the agencies that we are working with today, it is very rare that we all work together at the same time. For instances like these, getting to work with them and getting the feel for everyone is really beneficial,” said Chief Havlind.

One the thing officials say is the biggest challenge is communication since they normally do not work together and there is no central way for the various groups to speak with one another.

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