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      Police and firefighters learn how to safely dismantle a meth lab

      Firefighters get their hazmat suits on

      Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach police and firefighters are learning how to safely dismantle a methamphetamine lab.

      They, along with out of state first responders, have been receiving training this week at the Surfside Beach Fire House.

      The purpose of the 40-hour training program is to educate law enforcement on how to dismantle a meth lab effectively and safely. It includes education on processing and collecting evidence, as well as chemical destruction.

      There were about 60,000 reported meth labs across the country in 2012, according to Jake Kelton, instructor for MERIT training program, LLC.

      The three states with the highest number of meth labs last year are Tennessee, Oklahoma and Missouri.

      Kelton said there has been an increase in the number of meth labs in Myrtle Beach. One indication is when Kelton went out to buy the products, he had to go to three different locations to find certain materials used to make meth.

      "One thing you have here that is very attractive to meth people is transiency. Where you have people coming in from different parts of the country, Kelton added.

      When officers and firefighters complete the training program, they will be given the title of Meth Lab Specialist.

      There is also going to be another meth lab training held next month in Surfside Beach for police officers.