HazMat Team Spotlight: Sacramento Metro Fire District, CA

March 10, 2005
Sacramento Metro Fire District was formed in 2000 when the American Fire District and Sacramento County Fire District merged. It is the 7th largest fire department in the State of California.Images: Sacramento HazMat Team Spotlight Hazardous Materials Team Overview

Sacramento Metro Fire District was formed in 2000 when the American Fire District and Sacramento County Fire District merged. It is the 7th largest fire department in the State of California.

Images: Sacramento HazMat Team Spotlight

Hazardous Materials Team Overview

Sacramento Metro Fire District was formed in 2000 when the American Fire District and Sacramento County Fire District merged. It is the 7th largest fire department in the State of California. They responded to 56,700 alarms during 2003. Sixteen fire departments make up the Sacramento Metro Fire District. They protect an area of 417 square miles and a population of approximately 600,000 people outside the city limits of Sacramento, California, the state capital. Under the leadership of Fire Chief Rick Martinez, the Sacramento Metro Fire Department has 534 career and 19 reserve uniformed personnel who operate 39 engine companies, 6 truck companies, 12 medic units, 1 hazardous materials company, and 1 technical rescue company from 38 stations. They have one helicopter for brush fires and four crash rescue vehicles, 3 Titans and one P4. Sacramento operates dedicated paramedic engine companies in addition to medic units.

Sacramento Metro Fire District started its own hazardous materials team in July of 2003, prior to that they contracted with Sacramento City. The hazardous materials unit responds to over 200 hazardous materials incidents each year. Statistics for hazmat responses within do not include local engine runs for hydrocarbon fuel spills. Hazmat responses are categorized into three levels. Fuel spills are Level 1 incidents and the hazmat team does not respond unless a Level 2 or 3 incident occurs. Each engine company carries a limited amount of absorbent material for small hydrocarbon spills.


The hazardous materials unit is a 2004 Pierce custom made on a rescue chassis. It is located at Station 109 at 5634 Richardson Avenue along with Engine 109. Hazmat 109 is a dual company and carries all of the equipment of a truck company (minus the aerial device) and operates as Truck 109 on non hazmat alarms. Truck/Hazmat 109 has a light tower, closed circuit television capability. One of the truly unique aspects of Hazmat 109 is that it has a fully functioning lab on board for analysis of both chemical and biological materials. Lab equipment includes a fume hood, its own air conditioning and heating systems, refrigerator, pass through from the outside for samples, microscope along with other typical laboratory equipment. There are three computers in the command center that have their own wireless network. Internet access is also wire less and fax and plume modeling are available through the computer system. Photographic capability allows for surveillance of the incident scene from the camera outside of the hazmat vehicle or from a portable camera taken into the incident scene and transmitted back to the command center for viewing. Cabinet doors in the command center are made of the same material as dry marker boards and can be used for writing on. A small crane on the rear of the apparatus can be used to lower heavy chlorine kits and other equipment from the top compartments. Engine 110 located at 1616 Mission Avenue is also a designated part of the hazardous materials response.

Equipment carried on board includes decontamination, entry PPE, respiratory protection, chlorine kits A, B, and C, patching and plugging, and miscellaneous tools.


There are 55 members of the hazardous materials team. Engine 109 and Hazmat/Truck 109 have 7 personnel and a coordinator on duty and Engine 110 has three personnel who serve as the decontamination company.

Training Requirements

Hazardous materials technicians at the Sacramento Metro Fire District are trained as specialists with over 240 hours of training and get refresher training from the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI).

Monitoring Instruments & Identification Equipment

More Images: Sacramento SlideShow Monitoring capabilities include pH Paper, MultiRAE Plus combines a PID (Photoionization Detector) with the standard four gases of a confined space monitor (O2, LEL, and two toxic gas sensors) in one compact monitor with sampling pump. Mini RAE's PID PPM, portable RAE's. Infra Red Photospectomitry, Sensor IR, Micro Cap (in lab). Truck companies carry 4-gas monitors and special operations officers carry APD 2000, Radiation detection and Hazcat kits. Radiation instruments for Gamma radiation are carried on all engines and trucks along with dosimeters.

Terrorist Agent ID:

APD-2000- detects chemical warfare agents, peeper spray and mace. Hazcat WMD, M-8, M-9 papers and the M-256 Military detection kits.

Personnel Protective Equipment

Level A

  • Dupont
  • Kapler Tychem Responder
  • Brigade Commander Flash Protection
  • Dupont/Kapler Tychem BR

Level B

  • Tyvec CPF 3/4

Respiratory Protection

MSA with 60 minute bottles for hazmat. Draeger PAPR's and APR's. Engine companies carry bags for WMD for personnel along with Mark-I auto-injectors, which are nerve agent antidotes.


MSA built in system 800 MHz.

Research Resources

CAMEO (Computer Aided Management of Emergency Operations) and various other hard copy reference books are available in the command section of the hazardous materials units.

Standard Operating Procedures/Guidelines

Check with Sacramento Metro Fire District Hazmat for specific SOP/SOG's

Hazardous Materials Exposures

Interstates 5 and 80 and US Highway 50 are the primary transportation routes through the fire district. Barge traffic on the Sacramento River and Union Pacific Railroad has the largest railroad switching yard west of the Mississippi River making up the remaining transportation exposures in the Metro Fire District. There are also natural gas pipelines. American River Tank Farms are located along the river. Anhydrous ammonia is used in cold storage and agriculture and chlorine is used for water and sewage treatment. There is a heavy computer industry presence with its associated chemical exposures. Bulk propane can be found in the area as well as cryogenic and bottles gases. A nuclear reactor is near by and a plant that manufactures solid rocket fuel.

Terrorism Response

A regional WMD working group including the fire department, police department, sheriff's office and FBI deal with issues of terrorism. In nearby Sacramento City California Task Force 7 Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) is headquartered and available for local response as needed.

Contact Information

For additional information or questions, contact:

Captain Mark Wells 916-566-4392[email protected]

Images: Sacramento HazMat Team Spotlight

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