South Geauga Mutual HAZMAT Team
A Mutual Aid Cooperative Program of the Fire Departments of the Southern Geauga County Area
Auburn VFD, Burton VFD, Hiram VFD, Middlefield VFD, Parkman VFD, Troy VFD
14019 Nash Road Burton, Ohio 44021
To: Geauga County Fire Chiefs Association July 7, 1998
On behalf of the mutual-aid Departments participating in this program, we invite you, the Fire Chiefs of Geauga County, to observe the July 26, 1998 South Geauga Mutual Hazardous Materials Team (SGM HAZMAT) drill, which will be held at the Geauga County Fairgrounds in Burton. The drill will commence at 07:30
SGM HAZMAT Team Technician, Operations and EMS trained personnel have learned advanced techniques for risk assessment and hazard management. The intent of our team has been to undergo the very best training, chiefly through the University of Findlay, Cleveland State University and highly specialized consultants, so we can protect the citizens of our communities with the highest levels of emergency preparedness and response. Our proactive ability to identify risks, and to command resources to safely, proficiently and efficiently deal with the incident has been integrated and coordinated in a well managed and overseen, mutual aid, team effort.
The South Geauga Mutual HAZMAT Team was formed, in part, from elements of the original Geauga County Hazardous Incident Response Team (HIRT), which had functioned for nearly 10 years. Several members of the Geauga HIRT wanted to improve overall training and chemical emergency preparedness for our communities, while establishing strong compliance with Federal and State regulations (OSHA/EPA), as well as National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) professional fire fighter consensus competency and procedural standards.
In December 1996, work was begun on the Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs), which were completed in March of 1997. The SOGs set forth the comprehensive plan by which SGM HAZMAT would operate, and were reviewed and accepted by the Chiefs of all 6 participating Departments.
The participating Departments desired to establish this preparedness in a carefully controlled, step-wise fashion, so that safety, proficiency and competency could be ensured, and that the quality of the leadership, oversight and command infrastructure would neither be compromised nor overloaded. This has truly been a mutual aid effort among the participating departments, extremely similar to the existing mutual aid structure already in place for fires and medical emergencies.
The goals of SGM HAZMATs SOGs have been met, with over 40 personnel trained and qualified to the prescribed regulatory criteria. Mutual Aid has been established with qualified neighboring HAZMAT Teams. The participating Departments have had their basic firefighters and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel trained to recognize hazardous materials incidents, to implement our chemical emergency plan, and to work safely with SGM HAZMAT in actual response activities (such as decontamination of emergency response personnel and chemical exposure victims from the public).
Four local scientists have volunteered their time and services to train and assist in the rapid on-scene characterization of the chemical, physical and toxicological properties of spilled materials, to greatly enhance risk identification and management which permits Incident Commanders to make appropriate decisions regarding public safety. Joint HAZMAT education and training programs have been fostered between Geauga Regional Hospital and Robinson Memorial Hospital to provide multiple location HAZMAT injury treatment personnel, resources and procedures. SGM HAZMAT possesses over $50,000 worth of specialized chemical protective clothing, HAZMAT research literature, chemical monitoring instrumentation, decontamination and mitigation equipment, and a dedicated HAZMAT trailer for transporting this equipment to HAZMAT scenes. All costs of establishing SGM HAZMAT have been borne by the participating Departments, with a strong emphasis on donations by Industry, and Government training grants.
In all, SGM HAZMAT personnel have logged over 2000 man-hours of certified HAZMAT training, including over 200 man-hours of Fire Chief training. SGM HAZMAT members are fully certified and credentialed in accordance with all Federal and State regulations, and professional fire fighter (NFPA) standards, including an extensive medical examination and on-going surveillance program.
Discussions have also been held with the Geauga County HAZMAT Team, relating to proposed joint operations. Progress has been made toward this goal, but is contingent upon a mutual regulatory compliance audit to be undertaken at some point in the future. SGM HAZMAT is currently on-line and is available as a mutual aid HAZMAT response resource to any Fire Department or HAZMAT Team that requests such mutual aid through the Geauga County Sheriffs Office 911 dispatch center.
SGM HAZMAT has achieved sufficient expertise and operating experience to permit orderly broadening of the teams role in supporting the chemical emergency preparedness of our neighboring communities. SGM HAZMAT has opened our team training and team membership to any Geauga County firefighter or EMS personnel who have the desire to become involved with our effort.
The only requirements are that the particular person is a member in good standing with their home department, has been through T&I and/or EMT Basic training/certification and has the permission and approval of their Chief to do so. For those individuals who wish to take a more aggressive role (i.e., HAZMAT Technician) with SGM HAZMAT response activities, a medical baseline exam is required (by OSHA). The cost is approximately $250.00, and is to be paid by the individuals home department. With these basic requirements satisfied, the individual can enter SGM HAZMATs training program.
We respectfully request that you attend the July 26, 1998 drill in Burton to observe the complexities of a HAZMAT incident, and to observe the SGM HAZMAT Team at work. We would hope that your observation of the Team will permit you to enthusiastically support any of your Department members who would like to make a contribution to our mutual aid HAZMAT effort.
If you have any questions, please contact any of the SGM HAZMAT Team leaders or Chiefs. Hope to see you at the drill!
Lt. Jim MacNeal Asst. Chief Jack Cathan
Troy Fire Department Auburn Fire Department
Team Coordinator Assistant Team Coordinator
Chief John Phillips Auburn VFD
Chief Lex Hansel Burton VFD
Chief Dan Ellenberger Hiram VFD
Chief Stu Anderson Middlefield VFD
Chief Wayne Komandt Parkman VFD
Chief Ken Russell Troy VFD
Mr. Lynn Clemmer, PE Environmental Engineer Auburn
Dr. Tim Barber Ph. D. Chemist Burton
Mr. Lee Imhof Industrial Chemist Troy
Mr. Russ Wightman Industrial Chemist Troy