Law enforcement, fire departments train to deal with meth labs

Members of law enforcement and first responders attended a training session Monday evening on how to properly deal with hazardous materials such as meth labs. (Photo Provided)

ST. MARYS — Pleasants County law enforcement and fire departments attended a specialized training exercise Monday evening to equip them with the skills they need when facing hazardous conditions like a chemical drug lab.

St. Marys Police Chief Bill Stull said members of the St. Marys Police Department, the Pleasants County Sheriff’s Department, St. Marys and Belmont Volunteer Fire Departments and Pleasants County Emergency Management took part in the training.

“Everything we’ve been trying to do with the drugs in the county, we’ve all been trying to work together as a team,” Stull said.

An educational portion of the training took place last week. For the practical part of the training that took place Monday, Stull said a trailer was set up with all the necessary items for handling an incident with a chemical spill, chemical plants and the making of illicit drugs.

Pleasants County most often sees cases of methamphetamine, Stull said, and with the help of the county commission and city council, members of the police and sheriff’s departments recently became meth tech certified.

Glen Westbrook from St. Marys Volunteer Fire Department assists Sgt. Jason Reed from the St. Marys Police Department during a training session about hazardous materials. (Photo Provided)

“For the longest time a while back, we busted a lot of meth labs. Over the time period, we (had) more and more guys interested in being part of this too,” Stull said.

If presented with a hazardous situation, Stull said it is necessary to have a meth tech present to know what to watch for and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

“We’ve all worked together over the years. We’ve had an active protocol in place for years. Once it’s identified, everybody knows what we’re dealing with,” Stull said.

The departments get together about every six months to cross train and learn from each other.

“We try to have a very good and positive working relationship with our EMS and fire (departments). It’s not like we (have) extra guys and extra hands to always be available,” Stull said. “We’ve all got to help each other out. A lot of us are good friends with each other.”