Grant to help Danville hazmat team more quickly, safely identify unknown substances

First step in grant appropriation to happen at Tuesday's City Council meeting

DANVILLE, Va. – Danville firefighters will soon be able to identify potentially hazardous substances more quickly and safely.

The firefighters serve as one of the state's regional hazmat teams.

At Tuesday night's Danville City Council meeting, council members will take the first step in accepting a state hazmat grant the fire department has received.

A first reading will be held for an ordinance to amend the city's budget to include the $56,347 grant.

At the next meeting, a second reading will be held and the grant will officially be added to the city's budget.

The majority of the grant, about $30,000, will be used to buy a small handheld machine that uses a laser to identify substances.

"(The substance) may be something simple and we can mitigate the incident real quickly, but if it's something more dangerous then it allows us to call additional resources quicker," Danville assistant fire chief and EMA Director Tim Duffer said.

Currently, a sample of the substance has to be taken to a machine in a staging area and tested in order to be identified.

Duffer hopes to have the new machine by July.