University of Findlay hazard center trains first responders, students for disasters

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 6:07 PM EST
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FINDLAY, Ohio (WTVG) - First responders need training to prepare them for incidents like the East Palestine train derailment; they can find that training at the University of Findlay’s All Hazards Training Center.

First responders and students alike experience real-world scenarios at the center that prepare them to handle future disasters.

“They get that hands-on training and experience where they can simulate these kind of stressful situations,” said University of Findlay Environment, Health, Safety, and Sustainability Department Chair Kim Lichtveld. “How do you respond to an incident? How do you become an incident commander? How to you deal with this?”

The center partners with the EHS department to teach students emergency and environment management.

“We teach about the environmental fate. So, when something gets released into the environment and it doesn’t stay the same. It starts to change immediately – as soon as it gets into the air,” said Associate Professor Sam Ebersviller. “And so our students need to understand that in case its turning into something more dangerous.”

The center has provided contamination, hazardous waste, train derailment, and confined-space training, among other offerings. Since opening in 1989, they’ve trained more than a quarter million participants in all fifty states and four countries – including some of the East Palestine derailment first responders.

“Unfortunately, what’s going on in East Palestine with the rail car derailment – those things happen from time to time. That’s just the nature of things: they happen,” said the center’s Senior Director John Kayser .”As emergency responders, the best thing we can do and the only thing we can do is plan, prepare, and train so we can safely respond to incidents like that.”

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