No matter how unlikely, Portage Fire Chief Clayton Simonson says it’s better to be prepared than caught off guard when a hazmat team is needed for an emergency.
Eight Portage firefighters recently earned hazmat certifications after completing a 40-hour training course run by the Regional Emergency All-Climate Training Center in neighboring Juneau County.
Paid on-call firefighters Jason Dvorak, Dylan Shifflett, Charles Coppernoll, Travis Steiger, Jerad Royal, Nicholas Krueger, Lt. Matthew Gavinski and Capt. Michael Nachreiner have all earned their certifications, Simonson announced Tuesday.
The Portage Fire Department is almost uniformly trained in hazmat response. Simonson said all but nine firefighters have not yet completed hazmat training but will likely do so in the future.
Simonson estimated the department has responded to one or two hazmat calls in the last five years. “It’s very rare, but we train for it,” he said.