From January 1 to November 30,2018, the Allegheny County's Hazardous Materials Team collectively responded to 68 calls in 2018. Fuel spills and odor calls are handled by individual fire companies and provide assistance if needed. Engine companies carry four-gas meters. Hazmat will not respond unless a spill is over 55 gallons unless specially called upon to do so. Hazmat Team trucks in the county are equipped with the latest hazardous materials equipment including encapsulated suits, monitoring equipment, and communications capabilities. Fire frequency radios in the hazmat units enable communications with every fire department in Allegheny County. There are approximately 250 technician-level responders on Allegheny County's Hazmat Team. County Hazmat Companies are all one team and each is equipped to handle a hazmat response for
CBRNE. Additionally, each company is equipped to also handle the hazmat risks in their first due areas.
PPE, Equipment, Training
Some of the specific equipment carried by the hazardous materials teams include Chlorine Kits A, B, and C. Portable fire extinguishers include Purple K and Class D agent. PPE used by the Green Team is primarily DuPont Responder for Level A and DuPont CPF for Level B. Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is manufactured MSA with 1-h bottles and they also have MSA Millieum Cartridge Respirators. In-suit communications system is provided by Conspec VHF and UHF radios that are used in the county with throat mikes and ear pieces. Decontamination is provided by the hazardous materials team. Decontamination is currently being conducted using pressure washing as a primary process. Recent equipment purchased are:
- • Thermo Fisher Gemini (County).
- • Ground meter with all grounding and bonding cables and clamps. Developed SOG for use.
- • Altair SX 4 gas PID's to supplement current cashe of meters.
- • LPG water injection equipment.
The Green Team initial response area is located in the Southwest part of the county and serves approximately 56 municipalities within the county in an area of roughly 40 miles2 and a population of 270,000. They respond in conjunction with as many as 70 different volunteer fire departments in their coverage area. Membership on the Green Team is made up of personnel from 16 different organizations including firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, law enforcement, and industry specialists from within the Green Team's response area. The Green Team responds to approximately 8-10 hazardous materials incidents each year. Currently the Green Team has 42 members and is housed at the Broughton Volunteer Fire Company located at 1030 Cochran's Mill Road in South Park Township. All hazmat responders are on call.
Two hazmat vehicles are operated by the Green Team, Specialized Intervention Team 450 Hazmat 1 and 450 Hazmat 2 (Figure 5.1). Hazmat 1 is a 2008 Pierce Velocity with a rescue body. The rear cab is set up as a mini command post. The cab also has "meter" cabinets with charging stations for the meters and extra batteries. The truck has an onboard weather station and light tower. Additionally the outside of the truck has a retractable awning. Hazmat 2 has a roof mounted deck for clearer view of the
Figure 5.1 Two hazmat vehicles are operated by the Green Team, Specialized Intervention Team 450 Hazmat 1 and 450 Hazmat 2. (Courtesy: Allegheny County Green Team.)
operations for the command staff. This vehicle functions as a support unit with extra equipment, supplies and all of the Midland kits, Chlorine Kits, rail car fittings, and tarps for ammonia leaks.
Training requirements for team members include 168 h of training with 24 h of annual refresher. Subjects covered are Hazmat Awareness, Operations, Technician, Hazmat Chemistry, Command Post Operating I, II, III, Research, Evacuation, Communications, Command and Control, Radiological Monitoring, LPG, and Pesticide Challenge. Training is provided by the Allegheny County Training Academy and the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy. Most volunteer fire companies in the county require operation-level hazmat training for response personnel. EMS personnel are all trained to the awareness level for hazmat response. Green Team entry personnel now work in teams of three instead of two.