Lincoln is the Capital of the State of Nebraska and home to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln the flagship school of the University of Nebraska System.
Under the leadership of Fire Chief Mike Spadt, the Lincoln Fire Department has 266 uniformed personnel who operate 14 engine companies, 4 truck companies, 5 medic units, Air Cascade 14, and 1 hazardous materials company from 14 stations with several new stations in the planning stage. Paramedics are assigned to each engine company.
Lincoln Fire & Rescue responded to 547 hazardous materials incidents in 2003. So far during 2004 they have responded to 393 hazardous materials incidents.
In addition to the hazardous materials unit, the Lincoln Fire Department also maintains a decontamination trailer and several decontamination equipment trailers for use at local hospitals for decontamination or used in areas where more mobility is required.
No more tears baby shampoo is used in the shower system in the trailer because it is a very mild soap. The decontamination trailer is kept at the Headquarters Station at 1801 Q Street. In addition to hazmat and terrorism response the large decontamination trailer is used for rehab at incidents where needed. Equipment trailers would be transported and operated by mutual aid companies from rural departments surrounding Lincoln.
Lincoln fire provides training for hospital personnel and rural firefighters for conducting decontamination using the trailers. Lincoln is also home to Urban Search and Rescue Nebraska Task Force 1 (USAR-TF1). Hazardous materials technicians on the USAR Team do not normally respond to hazmat calls in the city, but are available as resources if needed.
Components of Nebraska Task Force 1 have responded to the following emergencies since 1993: Hurricane Emily, 1993 - Oklahoma City Bombing, 1995 - Hurricane Opal, 1995 - Hurricane Bertha, 1996 - Atlanta Olympics, 1996 - San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1996 - DeBruce Grain, 1998 - Oklahoma Tornado's, 1999 - Pentagon, 2001 - World Trade Centers, 2001 - Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, 2002 - Space Shuttle Columbia, 2003.
Each engine company carries 2-3 bags of absorbent materials for cleaning up small fuel spills and a patching kit for gasoline leaks at auto accidents. Larger spills would require the hazmat company response with 200 additional pounds of absorbent on the unit and an additional 500 pounds at the station.
Lincoln's hazardous materials unit is located at Station 14, 1435 NW 1st Street. The unit is a 1996 E-One with a command center in the crew cab. Decontamination equipment is stored in compartments on the driver's side. The passenger side has all of the dress out equipment. A binder has been compiled with information regarding team members PPE sizes. Compatibility glove and PPE charts are kept with the dress out kit. Each vehicle compartment has a listing of equipment posted on the inside of the compartment door. Additional apparatus at Station 14 includes Engine 14 and Air Cascade 14. Station 14 is approximately 9 years old and features private bedrooms for all on duty firefighters. It is also home to a police sub-station, community room, exercise area and the fire department training division offices. Lincoln apparatus has a two color emergency light system utilizing red on one side and blue on the other. In Nebraska all emergency vehicles including police, fire, and EMS use the red/blue system.
Hazardous Materials Equipment
Decontamination supplies and equipment, monitoring instruments, PPE, Ton and Cylinder Chlorine Kits (railroad has tank car kit), lap top computer, video and digital camera, empty gas cans for product transfer along with other miscellaneous items. They have also modified folding chairs without backs to allow for easier dress out with SCBA. Within Station 14 each firefighter on all shifts has their own dress out bag with equipment for dress out, including hazmat gloves, boots, Tyvec suits with booties, long underwear, a change of cloths, towel, respirator adaptor and cartridges, gloves and dust masks.