H-PASO ROBLES

Nov 17, 2010 7:21 PM by Danielle Lerner

SLO Co. Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team holds training exercise

If you saw hazmat crews, firefighters, sheriff's deputies and the bomb squad outside Robert Hall Winery in Paso Robles Wednesday, don't worry it was all part of a drill.

The San Luis Obispo County Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team conducted a training exercise there Wednesday.

Nearly three dozen people from several local, state and federal agencies took part in the drill. The reason for it is simple, practice makes perfect.

Firefighters suited up and went to work with some help from the bomb squad and even the FBI. The scenario for this particular exercise involved the release of hazardous chemicals into the air and an improvised explosive device, or IED.

Normally these agencies operate separately from one another, but the goal of trainings like this is to bring them all together to work on effective, and efficient communication.

"The primary line in why we do training is to get better at what we do, but when things are chaotic we always fall back to our training so we don't become confused," said Tony Ramirez of Cal Fire.

Mitchella Vineyard and Winery and Robert Hall Winery offered up some of their property for the exercise. When asked why they chose a winery for the drill organizers said they are always practicing different types of locations throughout the county because you never know when, or where, a hazardous materials emergency will occur.

The team holds large-scale drills like this one twice a year. That is in addition to the training it receives every month.

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