Danville Emergency Crews Training Downtown

Danville, VA -- A Hazmat team, police and EMTs were in downtown Danville Tuesday for a three-day drill as part of the national contingency plan for the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. It is the first time they are doing this in Danville.

"Today is starting off initially with the police department serving search warrants on a so called biker bar," said Cpt. Ray Earp with the Danville fire department.

In this case, police find a meth lab and call for back-up.

"It was very realistic looking," said Earp.

But instead of criminals creating this dangerous situation, the EPA is actually behind it all. It's part of a three day training exercise for emergency crews in Danville.

"The opportunity for us to get a lot more experience than the normal training that we have here," said Earp.

And this mock-emergency doesn't leave out any details from explosives, to actors, to even the pictures on the wall.

"With this lab they are doing everything but producing product," said Earp.

"They have to be ready, they have to be aware," said Myles Bartos, on-scene coordinator for EPA.

Bartos explains exercises like these help them develop relationships with local authorities.

"We've been planning building those relationships so when you walk on the scene when something is really bad you know someone by first name, you are not handing them a card," said Bartos.

The crews enter the scene just like any other call, unaware of what to expect. But they say, once they finish the exercise, they are even more ready for the real thing.

They will have a different scenario each of day. All of the training is being done on Lynn Street in Danville, so do not be alarmed if you see emergency crews. So far, the EPA says Danville has done really well and have learned a lot.