SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston firefighters and police officers hit the streets early Saturday, taking new safety precautions for the Armed Forces Day crowds.
"We're monitoring for any airborne gases or explosives," Lt. J.R. Fidler said with the fire department.
Officials say they're taking increased security measures for the first time, streamlining their efforts in response to the tragedy of the Boston Marathon.
"It gave us a heightened sense of awareness," firefighter Matthew Kessler said. "We always need to stay sharp on our skills and be ready for something that might happen."
Chief Detective Joel Gray with the South Charleston Police Department agreed.
"From now on I'd say it's typical," he said. "We live in new times here."
Along with bringing in more crews to survey the streets, firefighters say they purchased trauma backpacks stocked with supplies for serious emergencies.
"There are burn sheets in there for different kinds of burns you would encounter," Kessler said. "And trauma tags to identify injuries, if we have a mass casualty incident."
Firefighters also set air monitors strategically along the parade route, ready to detect any harmful or toxic substances.
Crews say they've had the monitors for a while but never positioned them in the open for an event until now.
"We prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Kessler said. "We do what we can to the best of our abilities...and that's about all we can do."
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