An increase in hazardous materials call volume in their response areas prompted three northwestern Missouri fire protection districts (FPDs) to combine resources and form the Tri-District Hazardous Materials Response Team (HMRT). The three districts — Central Jackson County, Fort Osage and Sni...
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HM-1 is a 2007 Pierce Enforcer that features a three-door command cab, wrap-around countertops, above-counter cabinets for reference storage, in-cab refrigerator and freezer, Will-Burt Night Scan light tower, telescoping Pelco camera system, in-cab monitor, two 200-foot mounted cord reels, rack-mounted SCBA with additional cylinder storage, eight-drawer toolbox, awnings, roll-up doors, four storage boxes on the roof and adjustable shelving. Additionally, the Tri-District HMRT has in service a mass-decontamination trailer with multiple decon shelters and equipment and a diesel-fuel water heater to provide warm water for winter operations. The Tri-District HMRT also maintains a Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) trailer. The MMRS system was created in 1996 and is in place to provide highly populated areas with an enhanced capability to respond to a mass-casualty incident caused by a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) incident. The trailer carries decon shelters and equipment, folding stretchers, Dräger BG-4 extended-duration SCBA, heaters and a generator.
The Tri-District HMRT is a part of the Metropolitan Kansas City Heart of America Fire Chiefs Association. Metro hazmat teams include Tri-District, Independence, Lee's Summit and Kansas City, MO, and Kansas City, Leavenworth and Overland Park, KS. Some of the funding for the metro teams comes through the Mid America Regional Council (MARC), the metropolitan planning organization for Greater Kansas City. This commission funnels federal money into local jurisdictions, including the metro hazmat teams, though its Hazmat Committee.
Tri-District's hazmat personnel are not dedicated to the hazmat team. Team members are volunteers within the paid departments and they often have a difficult time keeping up membership on the team. Team activations are announced on both Fire Dispatch and pagers carried by team members. When a call comes in, other companies are placed out of service and off-shift personnel are recalled to place the companies back in service. The hazmat team is comprised of 39 technicians from the three fire districts. Eight to 10 personnel are on duty on any given shift. All firefighters on the departments are trained to the hazmat operations level. Training is provided by the Mid America Regional Council's Technician Course. Additional training is acquired through the National Fire Academy (Emmitsburg, MD), Nevada Test Site (in the Nevada desert), Center for Domestic Preparedness (Anniston, AL), U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground (Utah desert) and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (Socorro, NM). National Fire Protection (NFPA) 472, Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents, is the guideline for all training and the team conducts monthly training and quarterly drills. Every two years, the metro teams and the National Guard Civil Support Team conduct a full-scale exercise. Engine companies carry absorbent materials to clean up fuel spills along with basic detection equipment, which includes a four-gas meter and radiation detectors. Fuel spills greater than 25 gallons trigger a hazmat team response.
Hazardous materials exposures in the Tri-District response area include transportation routes Interstate 70, U.S. Highways 24 and 40, and State Route 7. There are several large truck stops in the area as well. Railroads hauling hazardous materials through the area are the Kansas City Southern, Burlington Northern, Santa Fe and Union Pacific. Barges carry hazardous materials on the Missouri River. Fixed facilities that store or use hazardous materials include Kansas City Power & Light, Fike Corp., Meyer Labs, water and sewage treatment plants and the MFA Coop. Specific chemicals in the response area include propane, anhydrous ammonia and chlorine. Chemical protective suits used by the Tri-District HMRT are DuPont Tychem PK One Suit with flash protection for Level A and Tychem QC for Level B responses. Respiratory protection is provided by Scott SCBA with one-hour bottles, cartridge respirators and Dräger rebreathers.
Detection equipment carried on the hazmat unit include the QRae2, Canberra Eurisy, Beckman Explosimeter, SAM 935, Dräger Mini Warn Sensor Station, RAE PPB monitor, RAE Lind 2 Remote, Mini RAE 3000, Sens-IR with computer, Area RAE RDK Kit, Cal Gas Kit, Thermo FID, Thermo Eberline Rad Detector, SAW Mini Cad, Meth Lab ID kit, Hazcat kit, Mercury Spill kit, M256 A detector kits, Bicron 50 radiation surveyors, Dräger CMS emergency response kit, Sensidyne gas analyzer, Scott Explosimeter, MSA gas analyzer, Dräger CDS kits, Dräger tube kit, Ludlum Rad Md 2241, WMD detection kit and pH meter.
Patching, plugging and decon equipment and supplies carried on the unit are typical for hazmat units and include decon tents, chemicals and supplies, a refrigerator stocked with Gatorade, and miscellaneous equipment for mitigating a hazmat incident in transportation or at a fixed facility. HM-1 carries an extensive library of books for reference during an incident. These include Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Field Guide to Tank Car ID, Merck Index, Crop Protection Hand Book, Sax Manual, Farm Chemicals Handbooks, Hazcat MSDS, Coast Guard Chris Manuals and many others.