Bomb Techs and Firefighters Take Part in Hazmat Training - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Bomb Techs and Firefighters Take Part in Hazmat Training

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The Billings Police Department Bomb Squad receive around 15 calls a year regarding suspicious items. Thursday, the Bomb Squad teamed up with local firefighters for the Annual Competency Demonstration to take part in hazardous material exercises that are required at least every two years.

"We set up these exercises and it gives us a chance to work together, play together, and do those things. So, when it does happen, things happen automatically," says Fire Captain and Hazmat instructor, Tim Stavnes.

The exercises are designed to bring together bomb techs and firefighters, who are Hazmat certified.

"To be a good bomb technician, one person needs to understand hazards materials in general. Things that are flammable, things that explode, things that are toxic, all those things like that," says Stavnes.

"It's just good training for all of us to get together and kind of see how the other agencies work and get a good understanding, a good working relationship with them, "says Billings Police Sergeant Jason Gartner, who is the Bomb Squad Commander.

The training involves bomb techs, who walk into a situation to disarm an explosive device, and end up getting contaminated by a poison spill in the process.

"First of all, we exercise our equipment. Second of all, we get to work inner agency. But thirdly, it demonstrates that competency that we can do this," says Stavnes.

"You're exerting a lot of energy at the time so it's really kind of eye opening just how much the equipment weighs, how much effort you're putting out," says Jim Sivigny, a Reserve Firefighter for Lockwood who was involved in these exercises.

The Billings Police Department Bomb Squad is one of the two bomb squads in the state, and are required to be Hazmat certified. Six regional Hazmat response teams are in Montana, and those teams include local firefighters.