Fire Departments Team up for Hazmat Training

Local News

As the maquiladora industry grows in Mexico, the Harlingen Fire Department is playing a role in its workers safety.  Today the fire department finished a hazmat training with firefighters from Matamoros.  Our Adriana Candelaria tells us how technology is helping both departments communicate in case of a crisis.

Here’s how it works.  Some Matamoros firefighters are in Harlingen doing a Hazmat training.  At the same time, a part of their team is in Matamoros, Mexico. They’re also working on a mock chemical leak.

Even though there’s an international border between them, they’re all on the same page through one program.

A $60,000 grant given to the Harlingen Fire Department by the Environmental Protection Agency is making the collaboration possible.  From now on, in case of a big chemical leak, the Harlingen Fire Department will be able to instruct Matamoros firefighters through skype.

Assistant Chief Cirilo Rodriguez says it’s crucial that Matamoros firefighters know how to handle a Hazmat situation because maquiladoras are a fast-growing industry which makes workers prone to incidents, hazmat incidents, spills, and that type of thing.

Today was the final day of Hazmat Technician Level training for Matamoros Firefighters.  Rodriguez is already anticipating working with the neighboring fire departments in the future.

Last year the Matamoros Fire Department also worked with Harlingen Firefighters for a certification course.  The standards were held to the Texas Fire Commission.  Chief Rodriguez says he hopes the collaboration with our sister city in Mexico continues.

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