Hazardous Materials Emergency Response
Southern Platter Fire protection District’s Hazardous Materials/Terrorism Response Team (HMRT) mitigates hazardous material (HazMat) incidents. It operates according to guidelines specified in the Fire District’s Standards of Coverage document. The HMRT is funded and overseen by Northland Fire Chief’s Council and Southern Platte Fire. Southern Platte’s HMRT operates one of two trailer-type systems for Northland Fire Chief’s, in a two County area. The Northland Team is one of eight (8) metropolitan regional Hazardous Material/Terrorism Teams. Staffing for the HMRT consists of members from SPFPD; approximately five technicians are allocated per shift. There are additional personnel in each organization who are trained to the technician level. With the exception of civilian staff, all SPFPD personnel are trained to the minimum of HazMat “operations level.”
Equipment used by the HMRT includes similarly equipped vehicles (Haz Mat 64) in the Northland. Each of the Northland vehicles carries electronic monitoring equipment, color-metric tubes (for detecting specific gases), and various detection strips, papers, and kits. Each unit also carries specialized tools, decontamination equipment, computers, reference libraries, over pack equipment, absorbents, communication equipment, and pneumatic pumps. Also included are Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)’s, Level A, B, & C personal protective equipment and auxiliary power generators. In addition to the units in the Northland, the comprehensive resources of the organizations and County Emergency Managers are available. These include water tankers, air and light trucks, water tankers with foam capabilities, technical rescue vehicles, boats, command vehicles and aerial trucks. Through an auto aid agreement with KCFD an additional foam truck, HazMat response Unit, and technicians and specialists are also available.
The two Counties span 792 square miles and cover a population of approximately 215,650 people. The response area consists of three major hospitals with over 760 beds. These hospitals serve most counties in Northern Missouri for specialized needs, including trauma and hazardous material problems. In addition, the two counties have over 1,000 miles of roadways, the second largest rail yard in the State of Missouri, with 500 miles of track and 3,000 rail cars daily. The Missouri River also travels approximately 30 miles through the two counties with barge traffic. Additional exposures to hazardous materials may occur due to transportation in over-the-road vehicles.
HMRT members are encouraged to continually advance their training. SPFPD supports their attendance at National Fire Academy (NFA) to take advanced courses such as the Chemistry of Hazardous Materials and HazMat Operating Site Practices. Most members attend regional training.