More first responders are getting devices that can detect radioactive materials. Squad cars in DeWitt County, Farmer City and Clinton are the latest to be fitted with radiation detectors. It’s part of an effort to outfit all first responders across the state with the technology.
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“It’s a tool for them to know when they come into contact with radiation out there on accidents, incidents or any of their routine duties,” said Tom Seif, who’s in charge of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency program. The state purchased 6,200 of the devices with grant money from the Department of Homeland Security and has been distributing them since 2009. The detectors, about the size of a cell phone, cost $700 apiece and are now in 288 first responder departments. Of the 6,200, about 3,400 have been distributed.