HazMat Team Spotlight: Lincoln Nebraska

Under the leadership of Fire Chief Mike Spadt, the Lincoln Fire Department has 266 uniformed personnel


The hazardous materials unit is not staffed full time. When a hazardous materials call is received the fire fighters from Engine 14 staff the hazardous materials unit and the engine is placed out of service. All firefighters at Station 14 are hazardous materials technicians. In addition, firefighters at Station 2 located at 33rd and Holdridge Street and Station 9 at Cotner & Vine Streets are also hazmat technicians. Station 14 generally has 5 personnel on duty and Stations 2 & 9 have 4 each for a total of 13 hazmat personnel on duty each shift.

Training Requirements

Hazardous materials technicians in Lincoln go through a 40 hour technician level training program. Some technicians have also received Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) technician level training through the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) which is located at the former Fort McClellan Army Base also located in Anniston, Alabama, the railroad training school at Pueblo Colorado, the Department of Energy site in Nevada, and the EPA training programs. Eight hour quarterly drills are conducted to keep skills sharp.

Monitoring Instruments & Identification Equipment

Truck companies carry MSA Passports and CO monitors. The Health Department has a Mass Spectrometer for chemical analysis that they can bring to an incident scene.


  • MSA 4-gas
  • PIDs
  • pH paper
  • RAE System

Terrorist Agent ID:


  • RAD (radiation detection backpack
  • APD-2000 (2) - detects chemical warfare agents, pepper spray and mace.
  • Guardian BTA (Bio Agents)
  • Draeger CMS
  • Ludlum
  • RAD Alert
  • M 256 A Kits
  • M 8-9 Papers
  • CDV-777

Personnel Protective Equipment

Level A

  • Kapler Tychem Responder

Level B

  • Kapler Tychem encapsulated and non-encapsulated

Tyvec sleeves have been provided for use in protecting turnouts when working at fuel spills. They are disposed of following use.

Respiratory Protection

  • MSA 1 hour bottles (carried on Air 14)
  • MSA negative pressure cartridge respirators
  • MSA PAPR's


  • In suit communication is provided by GE Throat mike. (Skull mikes are on order) Radios in use are Macom P7100 and are on the 800 MHz band. Hand signals are posted inside the door of the dress out compartment of the hazmat unit.

Research Resources

Research materials on board the hazmat unit include Niosh Pocket Guide, DOT ERG, Emergency Handling of Hazardous Materials in Surface Transportation, EPA Meth Lab Book, SAC's Manual, Merck Index, Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Farm Chemical Handbook, Chris Manuals, and the CAMEO computer program. They have also prepared a binder with a listing of all local contacts and contact information.

Standard Operating Procedures/Guidelines

Check with Lincoln Fire Department Hazmat for specific SOP/SOG's.

Hazardous Materials Exposures

Diesel spills and natural gas leaks make up a large number of hazardous materials responses. Interstate 80, a major East West transportation route runs through Lincoln as well as U.S. Highways 6, 34, and 77. The Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad also runs through Lincoln and has a rail yard on the West end of the city. Lincoln also has several major trucking company terminals. Several grain elevators are located in Lincoln with farm chemicals, anhydrous ammonia and propane plants associated with the agricultural industry in the State of Nebraska. Several bulk petroleum tanks are located in the Lincoln response area. Plating companies use cyanide, acids, and caustic materials. Chlorine is stored and used at water treatment plants and public swimming pools. Goodyear has a belt and hose plant in East Lincoln with various hazardous materials.

Terrorism Response

Lincoln has available a decontamination trailer, and several smaller trailers with a decontamination tent, water heaters, and other equipment for mass decontamination. The only thing needed to support the tent decontamination is a generator and water supply. Tents are equipped with lighting, a heater, and sump pump as well as a rack for rolling non-ambulatory patients through on backboards. Police sometimes use the tents for crime scene investigations during inclement weather. The inspection division has a robot available for explosives, terrorist agent, and hazardous materials incidents. Check with the Lincoln Fire Department for information on other WMD equipment.