Apr. 4—Last week, first responders from around Henderson County gathered in Athens to receive tunnel rescue training. Many noticed them walking around Kiwanis Park wearing what looked like large backpacks and gas masks.

That equipment is actually the Biomarine BioPack 240 Revolution, a self-contained breathing apparatus, designed for challenging rescues where normal equipment won't suffice.

Dan Lipski, a retired Assistant Fire Chief from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, conducted the training. Lipski said most of the training centered around the BioPacks and "Not only how to maintain it, how to wear it, and how to use it, but how to do so safely in the multitude of hazardous environments that might be faced with."

The training was specifically intended for the team responsible for the Tarrant Regional Water District's water pipeline being built in Trinidad. The project is an eight-inch diameter waterline from Trinidad to Frankston.

Lipski said the five-day 40 hours of training was for "worst-case scenarios."

Not only did Athens firefighters attend, but also firefighters from Trinidad and Gun Barrel City, law enforcement officers from multiple agencies, and other stakeholders. "We had a very dynamic group of people," he said.

Lipski praised Athens for hosting the training and said, "Athens is hosting it because they have a great training room, great facilities, the Assistant Chief has been incredibly gracious, and so it is working out very well from a training perspective."

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