HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Fifty-one Huntsville Fire & Rescue (HFR) HAZMAT-trained firefighters sat in a classroom at the training facility to refresh their knowledge on hazardous materials and the different suits that protect them.
"We're primarily training them on how to select the right product of ours to use in these chemical emergencies," said Philip Mann, technical director for Kappler.
Kappler, out of Guntersville, not only manufactures different suits, but offers lessons, complete with fabric samples, to agencies nationwide.
"Seeing how they're tested, seeing how they're made will give them the confidence to do what they need to do," said Division Chief Steve Britton with HFR.
They say they want to make sure the firefighters are neither over- or under-protected. Proper gear helps them better respond to emergencies, protecting the environment, the community, and themselves.
HAZMAT team members train about ten times more than other firefighters, including putting on different airtight suits and identifying different chemicals.
"These suits are the barrier between them and the chemicals," explained Chief Britton. "So breaches in the suit, failures in the suit can mean death to those guys."
Chief Britton adds they are the only full time hazmat team in north Alabama, making familiarity with the suits that much more important.
"We have to know hat we're doing, there's no one else we can call."