Gulfport Firefighters Train For Chemical Accident

The Gulfport Fire Department practiced techniques they'd use in a hazardous chemical accident Wednesday.

The drill included a simulation, where several people were injured when two hazardous chemicals were accidently mixed and spilled, at the Gulfport VA's laundry facility. The chemicals in the exercise are actually used in this facility, so this sort of accident is possible. This drill also gave VA employees a chance to test their disaster plan.

Wednesday's test was tough, because like in a real-life situation, firefighters don't know when they arrive what chemicals are involved. Firefighters say this type of training is becoming more critical.

"We can have a hazardous material response anytime, anywhere," Wayne Morris said. "Matter of fact, we just had one yesterday. We do a lot of training just to keep us up to speed on chemicals cause there are too many chemicals out there to remember them all off the top of your head."

Firefighters use computers to help them determine the properties of different types of chemicals. It's a slow process because there are a number of safety measures that need to be followed.

After the drill, firefighters will be critiqued on their performance.