Firehouse.com Online Exclusive

HazMat Team Spotlight: Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Department and Hazardous Materials Team Overview

Anne Arundel County, Maryland is located south of the City of Baltimore and has a combination career and volunteer fire department led by Chief Ronald Blackwell. The fire department covers 588 square miles of land and 172 square miles of water located on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Anne Arundel County has a population of over 750,000. Fire protection is provided by the Anne Arundel County Fire Department for the entire county except for the Baltimore Washington International Airport, which is served by its own state fire department, U.S. Army Post Fort George G. Meade, which has its own federal fire department, and the City of Annapolis, which has its own municipal fire department.

Anne Arundel County was formed as an original Maryland county in 1650 and has operated under a County Charter government since 1965. Following the formation of the county charter government in 1965 all city governments and services in the county were dissolved except for the City of Annapolis. All governmental services including fire and police are currently provided by Anne Arundel County. Fire Protection in Anne Arundel County has historically been provided by volunteers. Whole families were sometimes involved in the local volunteer fire company. In 1924, the Maryland State Legislature authorized Anne Arundel County Commissioners to appoint a paid "chauffer and caretaker" for the volunteer stations at Earleigh Heights, Glen Burnie, and Eastport. "Chauffeurs" became county employees in 1932 and were later called "Engineman".

As the county grew, so did demand for emergency services and the department evolved into today's combination county fire department with 496 volunteer and 799 career firefighters and EMS personnel. Additional enginemen were added forming a three platoon shift of 24 hours on and 48 hours off that is still in effect today. In 1963 the position of fire marshal was established. When the county charter government was formed the present day Anne Arundel County Fire Department was formed. Harry W. Klasmeier (Chief "K") was appointed the first Fire Administrator and served until 1983. He was instrumental in bringing together the independent volunteer fire companies to form a central county fire department. During 1966 a Central Alarm and Communications Center was established along with a fire prevention bureau and training division.

Anne Arundel County Fire Department provides county wide fire, EMS, and rescue services from 30 fire stations. They have 54 available engines with 29 engine companies normally in service, there are 40 medic units available with 20 ALS and 9 BLS medic units normally in service, there are 13 truck companies with 12 normally in service (2 of which are quints), 1 hazardous materials/special operations company, 1 dive rescue team, 22 brush units, 1 collapse rescue team, and 7 fireboats. Anne Arundel County Fire Department responds to over 59,000 alarms each year. Of those alarms approximately over 44,000 are EMS and 15,000 are fire related.

Anne Arundel County formed their hazardous materials team in 1987 at Station 23 taking advantage of federal grant money that was available for hazmat team training, development and equipment. Their first unit was a 1984 Pem Fab/E-One pumper and a 1985 Chevrolet Suburban (Special Unit 23). The first hazmat unit was a 1989 Pem Fab/American Eagle, 1250 gpm pumper with a "squad type" body. The unit was a rear engine design which allowed for a fully functional command cab. This unit responded as an engine company on all types of calls and to hazardous materials incidents as needed. The hazardous materials unit responds to an average of 140 hazardous materials calls a year. Statistics for hazmat responses do not include local engine runs for hydrocarbon fuel spills and natural gas leaks. Each engine company carries absorbent material for small hydrocarbon spills less than 100 gallons. When a spill is greater than 100 gallons the hazmat team responds.

Vehicles

Anne Arundel County has one hazardous materials unit located at Station 23, 960 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park, Maryland. Hazmat 23 is a 2003 Pierce Lance Walk-around squad. Also located at Station 23 is Engine 23 a 2000 E-One with a 1250 gpm pump and Truck 23 a 110-foot 1993 E-One. A medic unit will be added to the station in the near future. When a hazardous materials call is received crews from Engine 23 and Truck 23 provide personnel for Hazmat 23. Station 23 is also the Special Operations station for the county and in addition to hazmat provides confined space rescue, swift water rescue and technical rope rescue. In conjunction with the Maryland State Police, Station 23 also provides a H.E.A.T Team (Helicopter Rescue).

Equipment carried on board Hazmat 23 includes decontamination, entry PPE, respiratory protection and other standard hazardous materials. Hazmat 23 is equipped with a 4 bottle air cascade system, PTO type generator, Holmatro rescue tool, light tower, and command center with computer and cellular capabilities. In addition to hazardous materials equipment Hazmat 23 carries confined space rescue, technical rope rescue, high-angle rescue and helicopter rescue team equipment.

Staffing

Anne Arundel County Hazmat has 8 hazardous materials technicians assigned to Station 23 per shift. Minimum staffing is 6 personnel and maximum is 8. If additional personnel are needed they utilize mutual aid from Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), Fort George G. Meade Fire Department, Howard County Fire Department and the City of Annapolis Fire Department. On duty shifts are 24 hours on and 48 hours off. All other firefighting personnel are trained to a minimum of awareness level and many to the operations level. A single ALS unit (closest unit) responds to all hazmat incidents with one additional unit dispatched and dedicated to hazmat if scene entry is required. All ALS personnel receive hazardous materials training specific to their duties, initially and during recertification. All hazmat team members are EMT's and can do their own personnel monitoring for pre and post entry. There are no volunteer members of the hazardous materials team.

Training Requirements

Hazardous materials technicians in the Anne Arundel County Fire Department are trained with the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI) 80 hour technician class. In addition they receive the National Fire Academy Chemistry of Hazardous Materials and Operating Site Practices (80 hours each). Training is provided on CAMEO, Marplot, and Aloha (24 hours). They receive Rope Rescue 1 & 2 (48 hours), Confined Space Rescue (40 hours), WMD Technician (16 hours), MSQAB and National Certification as Hazardous Materials Technician are required. Some team members have also been sent for outside training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Alabama, bomb and explosives training in New Mexico, and radiological training in Nevada.

Monitoring Instruments & Identification Equipment

Operational Security practices prohibit disclosing this type of information.

Personnel Protective Equipment

Operational Security practices prohibit disclosing this type of information.

Respiratory Protection

  • MSA APR's
  • 45 Minute MSA for Firefighting
  • 60 Minute MSA for Hazmat Team
  • PAPR's

Communications

  • Motorola radios in conjunction with MSA face piece.
  • 800 MHz Radio System

Research Resources

Operational Security practices prohibit disclosing this type of information.

Standard Operating Procedures/Guidelines

Check with Fire Hazmat for specific SOP/SOG's

Hazardous Materials Exposures

Interstates 95 and 97, 695, the Baltimore Beltway, dissect Anne Arundel County. Other major routes include 295 the Baltimore Washington Parkway, U.S. Highway 50 and Maryland Routes 2, 3, 100 and 648 the Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard. Potential hazmat incidents also involve the Chesapeake Bay, which is a major water shipping route and associated waterways that border Anne Arundel County on the western shore. Some fixed exposures include Baltimore Washington International Airport, Fort George G. Meade, Baltimore Gas & Electric Brandon Shores Power Plant, water treatment plants and others. Anne Arundel County borders Baltimore City on the South side of the city where many of the chemical and petroleum facilities in Baltimore are located.

Contact Information

For additional information or questions, contact:
Division Chief Stuart D. McNicol
8501 Veterans Highway
Millersville, MD 21108-1484
Telephone: 410-222-8200
Fax: 410-987-2904

Website: www.jonesstationco23.com

Related:

Loading