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Multiple Agencies Participate in Hazardous Materials Drill at UC Santa Barbara

Scenario had full response by South Coast Hazardous Materials Response Team to chemical spill and toxic gas in a university laboratory

Responding agencies from the South Coast Hazardous Materials Response Team headed to UCSB for a drill Thursday.
Responding agencies from the South Coast Hazardous Materials Response Team headed to UCSB for a drill Thursday. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

Fire crews from across the South Coast got a chance Thursday morning to practice how they’d respond to a theoretical chemical spill and resulting fatality in a UC Santa Barbara laboratory.

It was part of a massive drill involving multiple agencies, and included firefighters from Santa Barbara County and city fire departments as well as departments from Montecito and Carpinteria/Summerland

About 50 people were part of the drill at UCSB’s Elings Hall, which lasted into the early afternoon.

The crews responded from their respective stations at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Zaniboni said, and “none of the first responders knew what the scenario would be.”

Those responding firefighters make up the South Coast Hazardous Materials Response Team, he said.

The first engine on scene was a county engine from Station 17, which serves UCSB.

The scenario called in was a spill on the third floor of Elings Hall, where the college has a nanoscience laboratory, Zaniboni said.

County and city fire agencies had an annual hazardous materials drill at UCSB Thursday. Click to view larger
County and city fire agencies had an annual hazardous materials drill at UCSB Thursday.  (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

Firefighters determined that there was a spill of about 3 feet in diameter and that a fatality had occurred near the spill, according to the drill’s narrative.

Firefighters had to deal with the potential of toxic gas in the air because of the chemical mixture, as well as the possibility that the chemicals could eat through the third floor building.

The drill happens every year, and gives first responders from various agencies the chance to work together.

“It’s really great for us to do a multi-agency drill like that,” he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Responders from city and county fire agencies don hazardous materials suits during a drill involving a chemical spill at a UCSB science laboratory. Click to view larger
Responders from city and county fire agencies don hazardous materials suits during a drill involving a chemical spill at a UCSB science laboratory. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

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