The Cleveland Fire Department's Mobile Lab Begins and Ends with Equipment
Lab Manager - October 1, 2012
Born of the anthrax mailing scare of 2002, the mobile lab in the hazardous materials section of the Cleveland Fire Department in Ohio deals with public health risks and the identification of unknown, potentially dangerous substances in the region. In early 2000, that meant going after white powders that could be anthrax.
"Going back to approximately 2002, when we started chasing all the white powders and there were a lot of unknowns, we decided [on] a better way, a better mousetrap if you will, of trying to find unknowns," said Lieutenant Terry Bindernagel of the department's hazardous materials section about how the lab got its start.
The fire department worked with the McCrone Group's Hooke College of Applied Sciences, based in Westmont, Illinois, to develop the lab, which has about eight employees and is fitted onto a 20-foot box trailer, making it easy to transport to sites in Cleveland and the surrounding counties the fire department covers. That vehicle was put into service in 2004.