Tuesday, October 13, 2015         

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Hawaii island firefighters to train to deal with meth lab hazards

By Associated Press


HILO >> Some Hawaii County firefighters will be getting training on how they can maintain their safety during calls to methamphetamine labs, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported today.

In its report, the newspaper says a number of law enforcement agencies and fire departments from throughout Hawaii will be taking part in the training, but it’s the first time Hawaii County firefighters will be getting the training.

“We’re sending six members of our HazMat team,” said Gerald Kosaki, Hawaii County Fire Department battalion chief for special operations, which includes hazardous materials work. 

The meth lab training comes about two weeks after the Police Department asked the Fire Department to monitor the air around a suspected ice lab that officers were considering entering, Kosaki said. 

“The reason is to be prepared in the event a clandestine laboratory is discovered and not because of an increase (in the number of labs) or trend,” he said. 

Making a pound of crystal meth produces five pounds of hazardous byproducts that are both dangerous to breathe and possibly explosive, Kosaki said.

“A lot of this waste is just being dumped outside in the area,” he said.

The state Department of Public Safety’s Narcotics Enforcement Division is holding the training, which begins Monday on Oahu. 

Because of safety concerns, department spokeswoman Toni Schwartz declined to say how many firefighters will undergo the training, or provide specifics.

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