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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



On behalf of the mutual-aid Departments participating in this program, we welcome you to the July 26, 1998 South Geauga Mutual Hazardous Materials Team (SGM HAZMAT) drill.

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 provide 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 has 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 HAZMAT’s 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.

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 Sheriff’s Office 911 dispatch center.

Team Leadership

Lt. Jim MacNeal Asst. Chief Jack Cathan

Troy Fire Department Auburn Fire Department

Team Coordinator Assistant Team Coordinator

Oversight Board

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