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State gets decontamination trailers

By Associated Press, 2/16/2003 11:52

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) Connecticut has acquired some new tools to help respond to any terrorist attack about two dozen 14-foot-high, 13,000-pound mass decontamination trailers.

The trailers would be deployed in the event of a biological or chemical emergency, and are designed to get a contaminated person clean enough to be evaluated by medical personnel. Each trailer can process about 100 people in an hour.

The trailers were acquired by the state through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, state police Sgt. John Vaz, with the state's Division of Homeland Security, told the Greenwich Time.

The trailers are about the length of a fire truck, and have two entrances that lead to a series of chambers.

In the first chamber, there is a chute for contaminated clothing and two shower heads. On sprays water and another a cleaning solution.

A contaminated person would then go into the next chamber, where spigots spray water sideways and rinse off the body. The person would then be given a clean jumpsuit and directed to medical personnel for evaluation.

One of the trailers arrived in Greenwich Friday. Officials say the town's proximity to New York City makes the town an ideal location to house the unit.

''We're worried about somebody receiving contamination elsewhere and coming back to Greenwich,'' Fire Chief Daniel Warzoha said. ''We could do this at the train station. We could do this at Greenwich Hospital.''

The trailers can be moved by truck or airlifted by helicopter to any part of the state. Another trailer will soon be stationed in Stamford, Warzoha said.

The equipment was ordered before the federal government raised the terror alert this month to high, but it was delivered early because of the threat of terrorism, state and local officials said.

''It's the state of the times,'' Warzoha said. ''I'd prefer to never have to put a unit like this into place.''

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