First responders learn how to react to “tools of terror”

wajr_plugMORGANTOWN, W.Va.-West Virginia first responders are being trained to handle situations that involve nuclear radiation exposure.

The responders are completing a 3-day operations course provided through the Monongalia County Health Department to learn how to use tools, review health and safety information, and respond to a simulation requiring the knowledge they have learned. It is a follow-up to an awareness course on Monday, which taught them background information.

“One only has to look at the news and read the papers to see what the current state of national affairs is and see this is still relevant,” said Paul Potvin, a Counter Terrorism Operations Support specialist with National Security Technologies, and an instructor at the training.

Potvin told WAJR that radiation is used regularly for many things including disease diagnosis and treatment as well as sterilization of industrial materials.

“We’ve come to live in a society where we’re heavily dependent on this material, but now we find evidence that there are certain factions out there that want to try to weaponize this and turn it into a tool of terror.”

That’s where the training comes in. It makes sure first responders have the knowledge and skills they need to provide the best care possible if such misuse were to occur.

“To have the proper training, to know one’s limitations, and to operate in the correct measure is extremely important,” Potvin said.

This is Potvin’s second time teaching a course in Morgantown. This is the first Radiological/Nuclear training course here since 2013.