NIAGRA FALLS, N.Y.– Money may not buy you love, but it can buy you tears, drool and dilated pupils.
Those were some of the functions of the $750,000 mannequins which served as test subjects for 28 public safety personnel and health officials at a three-day training session last weekend at Upper Mountain Volunteer Fire Co. in Lewiston, N.Y.
The session was put on by an elite training squad from Texas A&M University which provides training programs for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said John Malinchock, head of the department and a volunteer firefighter with Upper Mountain.
The session was specifically for the town s hazardous materials department, featuring all four volunteer fire companies in Lewiston, which was formed in the 1970s in case of the need for immediate haz-mat care at what is now CWM Chemical Services, the town s hazardous waste landfill, he said.
What made it unique was the training centers around systems and treatment methodology for individuals exposed to chemical agents or nerve agents, or nuclear exposure, as well as everyday explosive injuries that could occur, Malinchock said.
The town s hazardous waste department is trained to respond to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction, the result of having sensitive landmarks such as the Niagara Power Project, the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and Mount St. Mary s Hospital in such close proximity, Malinchock said. Upper Mountain company boasts the only ambulance in Niagara County equipped to deal with incidents involving hazardous materials or weapons of mass destruction.
It s something Niagara University has been working on for several years, to be able to land some of these courses, said Malinchock, who also runs the pre-hospital care EMS/EMT program at NU. The university s Office of Continuing Education helped secure the training session.
The training session included diagnosing symptoms in the mannequins and other programs. In three days, attendees received 20 total hours of training, Malinchock said. It was open to anyone who wanted to come, and people came from around the region.
Across the country, we re all preparing for something we all hope never happens, Malinchock said. The first time you experience something, you want to be familiar with it.
Jay Stockslader, director of the Continuing in Community Education Department at NU, said the team from Texas A&M was excited top come to town, especially considering the importance of border issues and safety.
We would look for future opportunities with this organization, he said. We ve got a great number of first responders in this area who are dedicated and committed to continuing on with their training.
There will be another training session by the Texas A&M team in early April open to nurses, physicians and public safety personnel, Malinchock said. Anybody interested can call the NU Office of Continuing Education at 286-8181.Contact reporter Dan Miner at 282-2311, ext. 2263.