New hazardous materials response team in Harlan County

By Angela Sparkman | 

HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - Three Harlan County agencies are teaming up to start a haz-mat response crew.

Emergency Management, the Sheriff's Department, and the Harlan City Fire Department are pooling resources together to be ready if there is a haz-mat incident. Officials say it will make a difference.

The Harlan County Sheriff and firefighters are preparing in case hazardous materials cause a dangerous situation.

"People don't realize there's a lot of hazardous materials that roll up and down the road here," said Sheriff Marvin J. Lipfird.

The Sheriff says meth labs are also increasing in the county which require a haz-mat team to clean up.

The Sheriff's department, Harlan Fire Department and Emergency Management have formed a partnership and combined equipment to create a hazardous materials response crew.

"With both partnerships together, we'll be able to tackle more of the haz-mat incidences and also the clandestine labs," said David McGill, Emergency Management Director.

The group has around twenty people certified to respond to a hazardous materials spill or meth lab.

"It takes a lot of people to run a haz-mat scene. With all of us working together, this will help," said McGill.

"It allows us to resolve an issue that much quicker which results in public safety," said Sheriff Lipfird.

They converted an old utility truck into a haz-mat truck. It is ready to roll when needed.

Firefighters say some grants also helped provide equipment.

Officials say there are strict guidelines to be a part of the response team. if anyone is interested, officials recommend volunteering at the fire department to start the certification process.

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