Pictured (from left) are Mayor Costi Kutteh, SFD Captain Eddy Harpe, SFD Captain Danny Fisher, SFD Firefighter Travis Akins, and Assistant Fire Chief Kyle Bell.

Special to Iredell Free News

Members of the Statesville Fire Department Hazardous Materials Response Team competed in the N.C. Association of Hazardous Materials Responders Hazmat Challenge this summer.

The SFD Hazmat Response Team receives instructions prior to Part 1 of the challenge.

Coached by Assistant Chief Kyle Bell, team members Captain Eddy Harpe, Captain Matt Thompson, Captain Danny Fisher and Firefighter Travis Akins took first place in the competition against eight other teams.

The first portion of the competition included hands-on practical knowledge and skills in which the teams had to secure four leaks on four separate leak props. The props are designed to simulate leaking vessels such as railroad tank cars, highway tankers, and other hazardous materials storage containers and piping. Next the teams had to use their communication skills to complete a given task via radio. Using a diagram of an object, they instructed their team members in a different location on how to construct the object in the diagram via radio transmission alone. This exercise is designed to demonstrate a team’s ability to effectively communicate instructions during an emergency incident. Teams were scored on accuracy and the amount of time required to complete the task.

The team attended an award ceremony at the N.C. Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh on October 13, where they were recognized and received the first-place award. They also received a traveling plaque that will be held in Statesville until the Hazmat Challenge next year.

“We are very proud of the team members and the effort they put into the competition,” stated Chief Bell. “Training and competitions like this keep our entire Hazmat Response Team knowledgeable and ready to act if there is a hazmat incident. Obtaining the certifications and maintaining proficiency involves much time and dedication from each of the 25 team members.”

During the November 7 City Council meeting, Mayor Costi Kutteh recognized the competing team members and congratulated them on the first-place win. He also thanked the entire Statesville Fire Department for their dedication to protecting the City.

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