Huntsville Fire and Rescue conducts drill with U.S. Army

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Huntsville Fire and Rescue crews were seen working a scene for several hours on Thursday.

The situation at the old Johnson High School near Winchester Road was just a drill conducted with a branch of the U.S. Army.

"Their Hazmat team at Huntsville Fire and Rescue is spun up and has some similar capabilities that we have, we just do it every day. So, what we do is come out and talk about tactics and techniques to go over basic scenarios," said Captain Scott Massey, Army Operations Officer.

For the last three days Huntsville Fire and Rescue crews have worked with the 46th Civil Support Weapons of Mass Destruction team.

"The fire rescue guys called us this morning and tell us what they had, and basically we came to set up our footprint with all of our equipment, and start a link up with the Huntsville Fire and Rescue," said Massey.

Crews around Alabama are required to go through this training at least once every three years.

While the Army teams aren't first responders, there's a number of ways they can assist in unusual and extreme scenarios.

"Anything from a white powder instance that police and fire can't identify to any other chemical or biological hazard. Those type of events that need identification, we have analytical capabilities," said Massey.

What it comes down to is making sure crews are prepared to work any type of situation together.

"We are trying to keep the public safe. I mean, we are an extension of the Alabama Army National Guard. We are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year as a unit within the National Guard that works for the Governors office, and can be activated at any point in time to come out in local communities and help," explained Massey.

If the 46th Civil Support team was called to a scene in Huntsville it would take them three to four hours to arrive.

The last time Huntsville Fire and Rescue participated in one of these drills was 18 months ago.