The Houston Fire Department received a $2 million grant this year from The Department of Homeland Security. It’s designed to help the department train firefighters on how to respond to weapons of mass destruction.
Houston already has advanced training in hazardous materials, but officials says the department could benefit from training in biological, radiological and explosive disasters. Houston Mayor Bill White says this is an issue of putting your money where your mouth is to develop a better firefighting force.
All of the department’s 3,600 firefighters will go through 16 hours of training and new recruits will receive the training as they are hired. They’ll be trained to identify threats and characterists of weapons of mass destruction, along with protective and response procedures. Houston Fire Chief Phil Boriskie says the force can always use more instruction and knowledge.
Department officials say Houston is the largest city to go through the training, which is provided by the International Association of Fire Fighters. Houston is considered a high risk for terrorist attacks because of factors such as the petro-chemical industry and the dense population.