Jonesboro Fire Department receives new equipment for hazmat team

Jonesboro Fire Department receives new equipment for hazmat team

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Fire Department received 2 new analyzers Tuesday that will allow them to respond faster to emergencies involving hazardous materials.

Marty Hamrick with the Jonesboro Fire Department's hazmat team said the 2 analyzers are game changing.

"Well now with this stuff we can tell what it is within 3 to 5 seconds," Hamrick said.

Using a laser to look at the substance, the new equipment can determine if something is a high-powered explosive or your everyday baking soda.

"Like if it's baking soda a white, such as anthrax something like that, explosive, narcotics, it will sample for all those types of things," Hamrick said.

David Moore at the office of Emergency management said the equipment isn't cheap. The analyzers cost more than $100,000.

"They are funded through grant money from the homeland security through the state of Arkansas and down to my office," Moore said.

Hamrick said the Jonesboro Fire Department has enough equipment but Tuesday's gift will take them to the next level in their response capability.

"This moves us closer to a Type 1 FEMA team, which is the best designation you can get," Hamrick said.

Moore said the numbers for Craighead County aren't high when it comes to hazardous material emergencies, but there are other elements that justify the need for the new equipment.

"We have a high instance of hazardous materials with all the manufacturing we have around here, the highways running through here," Moore said. "We can show that that's a needed item."

Firefighters will train with the developers of this new equipment Friday afternoon. Moore said this equipment won't just benefit Craighead County because the Jonesboro hazmat crew is often called to other areas of Region 8.

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