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Dane County Executive Falk Praises Collaborative Efforts of Communities in Emergency Decontamination Program

August 05, 2004
Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
County Executive

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today participated in a demonstration of the county’s new abilities in responding to a chemical emergency that may present considerable dangers to communities and often challenge the most experienced and equipped response teams. The event was held at the Alliant Energy Center grounds with firefighters, paramedics and other first responders from Dane County communities participating. “Keeping our communities and citizens safe is all our jobs,” said Falk. “Using funds obtained from federal homeland security grants, Dane County purchased five trailers stocked with decontamination equipment. These ’decontamination trailers’ are currently housed at five fire departments located in Blooming Grove, McFarland, Middleton, Shorewood Hills and the Town of Madison. All or parts of the system can be deployed as needed to decontaminate a large number of individuals that may be exposed to chemical, biological or radiological materials, either from an accident or a terrorist event. This equipment also will be used in other types of emergencies as well, such as at fires or evacuations,” Falk said. Over the past three years, Dane County has aggressively sought federal Homeland Security dollars for emergency preparedness equipment and training, receiving over $3 million to date. Dane County Emergency Management, along with the Dane County Fire Chiefs Association and the City of Madison Fire Department developed the Emergency Mass Decontamination System. During chemical emergencies, firefighters and HAZMAT teams are called upon to recognize and identify involved chemicals, protect citizens, the community and the environment, determine control measures and restore order. An additional significant challenge would be if the emergency exposed a large number of individuals to a chemical, either intentionally or accidentally, that would require immediate personal decontamination to lessen the effects of a chemical exposure and preserve lives. This is the scenario that Dane County fire officials have been working on for the last two and a half years. The decontamination trailers would be dispatched to the scene of the emergency, and/or, if required, to a local hospital to assist in decontamination efforts for those individuals that may have self-presented. Key individuals that have provided the leadership, time and commitment in the Decontamination initiative: Glenn Linzmeier, Fire Chief Blooming Grove Fire Department Gary Garman, Fire Chief & Deputy Fire Chief Scott Miller McFarland Fire Department David Bloom, Fire Chief Town of Madison Fire Department Aaron Harris, Fire Chief Middleton Fire Department Tom DeMeuse, Fire Chief Shorewood Hills Fire Department Marcia Holtz, Division Chief, Special Operations City of Madison Fire Department Jerry Stein, President Dane County Fire Chiefs Association Don Lythjohan Madison Metropolitan Sewage District Dave Bursack Dane County Emergency Management
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