Hazmat Team Spotlight: Omaha, NE, Fire-Rescue Department

Located on the banks of the Missouri River at the Eastern end of Nebraska, Omaha is the largest city in the state.Slideshow Images: Omaha, NE, Fire-Rescue Department Located on the banks of the Missouri River at the Eastern end of Nebraska, Omaha is the...

A standard type rescue hazmat vehicle was purchased in 1998 to increase the effectiveness of the team. Additional equipment was purchased to carry out the missions of the special operations team. In 1999 a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) trailer and associated equipment were placed into service. The trailer carries extra PPE, miscellaneous hazmat support equipment, decontamination tents and decontamination equipment. A second hazmat vehicle was purchased in 2005 giving Omaha Fire the capability to place two dedicated hazmat teams into service. Both hazmat units are housed with an engine company that is also staffed with four hazmat technicians. The assigned engine companies serve as back-up for hazmat and special operations tasks.

Omaha's Hazmat team responds to an average of 992 calls per year including fuel spills, gas odors and leaks. Engine companies carry an oil pick up absorbent product that is a pumicite volcanic ash derivative. All engine companies also carry a surface washing agent (Petro Green) in a two-gallon sprayer. A 2:1 ratio of water to Petro Green is used. Engine companies will call in the hazmat team if the spill is larger than what they can handle with on-board supplies. Any spill other than a hydrocarbon fuel spill will result in the hazmat team responding regardless of size of the spill.

Rescue 1 (Hazmat 1) is housed at Station 60, located at 2929 S. 129th Ave. Rescue 1 is a 2005 Emergency One with a Cummins Diesel 500-hp engine. Also housed at Station 60 is Engine 60, a 1994 Spartan Motors Central with a 1250-gpm pump and a reserve truck. Rescue 2 (Hazmat 2) a 1998 Emergency One is housed at Station 5 located at 2209 Florence Blvd. Engine 5, a 2003 Toyne Waterous with a 1500-gpm pump, and Medic 5 are located at Station 5 as well.

Hazmat Equipment
Most of the equipment carried on the hazmat vehicles is typical for hazmat and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) response situations.

On a daily basis each hazmat unit is staffed with four technicians. Each engine company at Stations 5 and 60 is also staffed with four technicians. So on any given day, the ideal staffing would be 16 technicians between the hazmat units and engine companies. There are 48 total hazmat technicians assigned to Stations 5 and 60 on all three shifts. There are approximately 25 additional hazmat technicians on duty on each shift scattered about on other apparatus around the city that can be called into service if needed.

Mutual Aid
Mutual aid for hazmat incidents is available from the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department, Offutt Air Force Base Fire Department, and Council Bluffs, Iowa Fire Department. All these departments have fully dedicated hazmat teams. Also, the State of Nebraska has a National Guard Civil Support Team and a state MOU??? for Hazmat with 10 hazmat teams including Omaha.

Omaha's Hazmat Team has mutual aid agreements with surrounding counties and towns, and they are part of the State MOU Hazmat response plan.

Training Requirements
Hazmat personnel are required to be trained to the technician level. Initial training includes a 40-hour hazmat technician course (conducted by McKinzie Environmental out of Olathe, KS). They are the EPA's contractor for Region VII. Hazmat technicians must also go through 16 hours of rope rescue and Confined Space training along with eight hours of trench rescue training. Omaha fire instructors are used for rope rescue/confined space initial and refresher training. They also use a contractor from Colorado (Innovative Access Inc.) for training as well. Hazmat personnel assigned to Stations 5 and 60 receive 24 hours of annual HAZWOPER training. The remaining hazmat techs on the fire department receive a minimum of eight hours of annual HAZWOPER training. All Omaha firefighters are trained to the hazmat operations level and have (WMD) awareness training as well.

Monitoring Instruments & Identification Equipment

  • Monitoring capabilities include:
  • Drager CMS Kit
  • Mini Rae PID Meter
  • Multi Rae 5 Gas Meter
  • Industrial Scientific T82 CO Monitor
  • Industrial Scientific M40 4 Gas Monitor
  • Haz Cat kit
  • Saw minicad MK II
  • APD 2000
  • Smith's HazMat ID
  • Smith's Gas ID
  • Radiation Monitors:
    • Ludlum 2241 radiological detector
    • ThermoEberline FH406-L Radiological Monitor

    Personnel Protective Equipment

  • Level A
    • Dupont Tychem 41590
    • Kappler Responder Plus
    • Kappler 46560 Reflector (Aluminized)
  • Level B
    • Kappler CPF 3 with hood
    • Kappler Hooded Tyvec
    • Kappler Saranex fully encapsulating
    • Kappler CPF-4 fully encapsulating
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Scott SCBA 30-minute and one hour
  • Five minute escape air packs
  • Supplied Air Respirators


  • Scott Envoy Radiocoms
  • Motorola Impress portable Radios
  • Scott Voice Amplifiers

Research Resources

  • Hard Copy Reference Books