Responding to a Clandestine Drug Laboratory

Issue 6 and Volume 163.

BY AUGUST VERNON If your agency is dispatched to what might be a clandestine drug laboratory (clan lab), would you know how to recognize one and safeguard your safety? What would happen if your responders found one during routine activities? A clan lab is any laboratory that manufactures illegal, controlled drugs or substances. These labs have been found in single- and multiple-family dwellings, motel rooms, campgrounds and woods, mini-storage buildings, and motor vehicles, among other places. Law enforcement raids on clan labs have the potential to escalate into a hazmat, a fire, or an EMS response. Increasingly, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies are requesting that fire and EMS assets be available during the thousands of law enforcement raids that take place across the United States annually. Every year, several first responders in the United States are exposed to and injured by these labs.  A GROWING PROBLEM   Clan…

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