Local News

Firefighters Suit Up For Anti-Terrorist Exercises

Posted October 29, 2001 5:37 a.m. EST

— Many specialized firefighters have been donning protective gear as they investigate anthrax scares.

On Wednesday, firefighters at Fort Bragg and surrounding cities will get more experience in working in those suits as they take part in an anti-terrorism exercise on post called Orbit Comet.

"There is some level of stress the firefighters gets when he puts the suit on, so the more training he gets in the suit makes him more confident and comfortable inside of it," says Capt. Chris Guidry of the Fort Bragg Fire Department.

On Monday, Fort Bragg firefighters demonstrated how easy tasks are not as simple as they look wearing the heavy suits, three pairs of gloves and a mask.

Egan, a Fort Bragg firefighter, says that the Level A suits are used when teams do not know what type of substance they are dealing with.

"Everything is self-contained -- no vapors in, no vapors out," says Lt. Dave Egan. "Your flexibility is diminished, slow and deliberate movements at all times and there's no running."

Egan, who is also trained as a Haz-Mat technician, says that even after nine years, he still faces challenges.

"Respiratory protection is the number one key. The second is not getting anything on my skin or on my body," he says.

Egan says it can be a tough job under stressful conditions.

Annual training for a biological or chemical threat is nothing new at Fort Bragg. With the threat more real today, military firefighters are now requesting more protective gear and detection for its force.