Cumberland Times-News

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December 10, 2013

Hampshire could be home to $1 million hazmat response unit

ROMNEY, W.Va. — A $1 million

tractor-trailer complete with a hazardous

materials command module

may be part of the region’s equipment

to secure the communities

against weapons of mass destruction.

Brian “Tad” Malcolm, Homeland

Security and Emergency Management

director in Hampshire County,

asked for financial aid from the

Hampshire County Commission on

Tuesday morning.

Malcolm told the commissioners

the trailer and module have been sitting

in Hardy County since 2005, virtually

abandoned.

In the fall of 2002, following the

aftermath of 9/11, the Department of

Homeland Security awarded funding

to all 50 states.

By spring 2003, $23 million went to

West Virginia, at which time the

Rapid Response Team units were

born. There are 10 units of its kind in

the state.

“This equipment is scheduled to be

pulled out of the region due to lack of

funding and lack of interest throughout

the state,” Malcolm said.

Malcolm said the State Emergency

Response Commission, which is

under the wing of Homeland Security

and Emergency Management in

West Virginia, owns the equipment.

“What I have asked the commissioners

is for backing to keep this

equipment in Hampshire County and

some financial support to get it

inspected and tested,” Malcolm said.

The commissioners agreed to

write a letter of support and voted to

set aside $10,000 to get the equipment

ready.

“I will be sending a proposal to thestate asking for permanent

location of the equipment in

Hampshire County. We have

moved the equipment to the 911

center on Jersey Mountain

Road,” Malcolm said.

“I will be sending a letter

from the commissioners showing

their good faith in giving

$10,000.”

Malcolm said the nearest

equipment of this sort is as far

away as Berkeley County and

Clarksburg.

This hazmat unit will be

available to Hampshire, Mineral,

Hardy, Grant and Pendleton

counties.

“It is a full-sized trailer with

only 1,300 miles on it. It is

loaded with hazmat response

materials and can handle a fivemember

crew,” Malcolm said.

The command module at the

rear of the trailer is fully encapsulated

with Level A and Level

B suits in case of an attack.

Malcolm said the need for

such equipment came to light

in September when a regional

drill was held.

“I noticed some deficiencies

in the county and lack of

trained personnel during that

drill,” Malcolm said.

Malcolm, Jerry Loudin and

Mike Crouse, all with the 911

center, are trained hazmat

technicians.

“We are going to be enlisting

the help of fire departments

and others. Technical classes

will begin in February and

March. Our first round of other

training will begin in June,”

Malcolm said.

Malcolm said Hampshire

County monies won’t be spent

until the state approves the

proposal.

Contact Marla

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