Training for a hazardous material incident

ROCHESTER, Minn. — As you may already know, firefighters do more than just fight fires and Wednesday the Rochester Fire Department worked on one of those things.

Their special chemical assessment team serves 11 counties.

A two-day exercise got underway Wednesday morning and will continue Thursday for some practice.

Wednesday’s exercise involved a staged murder suicide where chemical weapons were used.

“This is actually drawn from previous incidents that happened other places in the country, intel type information that’s coming in that says unfortunately we need to be ready for this type of situation,” said Battalion Chief Chris Bailey of the Rochester Fire Department.

It is put on by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Mayo Clinic they also get some help from the National Guard.

“It’s 22 active AGR soldiers and airmen that are basically prepared to respond to hazardous incidents, weapons of mass destruction and what have you in support of civilian authorities,” said Captain Ben Schmitz of the 55th Civil Support Team.

Every Rochester firefighter needs to know how to respond to these type of events but there are about two dozen who specialize in it.

The Rochester Chemical Assessment Team trains year round, but does this large scale type of training once a year.

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