- Slideshow Images: Burlington County, NJ, HAMMER-15
Burlington County is located in South New Jersey just north of the metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and Camden, NJ. Burlington is the largest of New Jerseys 21 counties and has an area of 819 square miles. It has a population of over 550,000 people. Burlington County stretches completely across the State of New Jersey from the Pennsylvania border to the Atlantic Ocean. Statutory responsibility for hazardous materials response in Burlington County comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health.
The hazardous materials team in Burlington County is administered by the Department of Emergency Management under the direction of Kevin Tuno, the Emergency Management Coordinator. Ken Hofbauer is the chief of the hazmat team and Brian Petuch is the deputy chief. The hazmat team is primarily a volunteer organization comprised of firefighters, police officers, EMS personnel, OEM, sheriff's office, public works, and industry personnel. The only full-time team members work for the Burlington County Department of Health. There are 43 active members currently on the team. The county sheriff's department provides EOD resources as part of the Burlington County Hazmat Team and Sheriff's EOD personnel are also hazmat technician trained. EMS is provided for the hazmat team by the Westampton Fire & Rescue Department BLS unit staffed with medics who are also hazmat technicians. ALS EMS service is provided by county hospital based units.
Burlington County Emergency Management officials formed their hazardous materials team and placed it in service during 1988. They realized that most local emergency response agencies could not afford the training and equipment needed to deal with chemicals. The idea of a regional team took shape to respond county-wide for hazardous materials releases. The hazardous materials team responds to an average of 70 hazardous materials calls a year, not including local fire department engine runs for hydrocarbon fuel spills and natural gas leaks. The county health department has primary responsibility for fuel spills. Some fire department engine companies carry absorbent materials for small fuel spills while others may not respond to fuel spills at all. Anything large is handled by the health department or the hazardous materials team or both.
Mutual aid is given to and provided by Camden County, New Jersey State Police, McGuire Air Force Base, Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team, and the 21st Civil Support Team from the New Jersey National Guard.
Burlington County's Hazardous Materials Team station is located at One Academy Drive in Westampton, NJ. The following equipment is housed at that location. Unit 1541 is a 2006 International Hackney heavy rescue with a PTO High Volume Air Compressor, PTO 25-kilowatt Onan generator and integrated weather station. Unit 1542 is a 2006 Ford F-550 Hackney medium rescue. Unit 1569 is a 2004 Ford F-450 utility used as a decon and support vehicle. They also have four support trailers that can be towed by any of the response units. Trailer 1 (T-1) is a 20-foot equipment trailer with a work room. Trailer 2 (T-2) is a 14-foot equipment trailer with portable decontamination equipment. Trailer 3 (T-3) is a 16-foot heated water decontamination trailer. Trailer 4 (T-4) is a 20-foot equipment trailer for bulk equipment.
HAMMER-15 is a volunteer hazmat team so team members are paged out when a hazmat call comes in. County Health Department personnel are the only career members of the team and are available between 8:00 am till 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. The five health department personnel are all paged out during off hours along with the rest of the team.
Hazardous materials team members train through the New Jersey State Police and take their 80-hour and 40-hour RCRA training programs. They also receive Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) technician level training. In service training is also conducted monthly.