PPE, Equipment, and Training
Squad 4 and TR23 carry a variety of hazardous materials equipment. Hazmat PPE includes Level A, Level A Flash, Level B encapsulated and non-encapsulated. Respiratory Protection is provided through the use of MSA APR's, 45 Minute MSA for Firefighting, 60 Minute MSA for Hazmat Team. Communications equipment includes Motorola AXP portables with SR65M headsets with throat mic. Monitoring and detection equipment includes Air Monitoring-Industrial Scientific MX4/6, Gas Badges/ Chempro/Tiff/Jerome/Gemini and Razor. Research resources is both electronic and hard copy. Electronic is mainly used via the internet using programs such as Wiser and Cameo.
If additional personnel are needed they utilize mutual aid from Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), Fort George G. Meade Fire Department, Howard County Fire Department and the City of Annapolis Fire Department. A single ALS unit (closest unit) responds to all hazmat incidents with one additional unit dispatched and dedicated to hazmat if scene entry is required. All ALS personnel receive hazardous materials training specific to their duties, initially and during recertification. All hazmat team members are EMT's and can do their own personnel monitoring for pre and post entry. There are no volunteer members of the hazardous materials team.
The Maryland State Police H.E.A.T Team (Helicopter Rescue) has been replaced by four person MSP crews on their helicopters when they replaced the Dauphin with the AW-139 airframes. In addition to that change, there is the Maryland HART team that utilizes the MD Air National Guard
(MDANG) for aquatic rescue. AA County Special Operations personnel are trained (Technical Rope Rescue) and respond on high angle incidents such as on the Bay Bridge and other calls for service in the county that go beyond slope evacuations. However, they are no longer a part of the State Police Team.
Members of the Hazmat Team are interviewed and selected to be on the team. Team members are required to have a Pro-Board 80 h HM Tech Class and one other Special Operations certification. Once these qualifications are completed, they enter the team as a Hazardous Materials Technician (HMT). Daily staffing requirements only allow for one out of the eight team members on a shift to be a HMT. The remaining seven are experienced SO Technicians. An extensive in house training program has been created that takes approximately 1 year to complete. New members achieve benchmarks which increases their capability and status n the team.
The first step is Hazmat Technician where they can function as a member of the hazmat team and work towards completing skills which are basic technical level exercises. Following approximately 6 months of in house training the new member will achieve the SO technician status. This is the point where the members start to work up more sophisticated tasks. This training is often referred to as "below the line". When all task/ skills have been completed "below the line" the members must pass an in house practical exam at which point they earn the privilege of wearing the Special Operations patch.
Some team members have also been sent for outside seminars and training including local opportunities, the annual Hazmat Conference in Baltimore, and formal classes offered at the Federal Level through the Department of Homeland Security.
Hazardous Materials Exposures
Hazardous Materials Exposures in Anne Arundel County include, Interstates 95 and 97, 695, the Baltimore Beltway, dissect Anne Arundel County. Other major routes include 295 the Baltimore Washington Parkway, U.S. Highway 50 and Maryland Routes 2, 3, 100 and 648 the Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard. Potential hazmat incidents also involve the Chesapeake Bay, which is a major water shipping route and associated waterways that border Anne Arundel County on the western shore. Some fixed exposures include Baltimore Washington International Airport, Fort George G. Meade, Baltimore Gas & Electric Brandon Shores Power Plant, water treatment plants and others. Anne Arundel County borders Baltimore City on the South side of the city where many of the chemical and petroleum facilities in Baltimore are located.
On May 30, 2015, crews responded to an acid leak in the Maryland City/ Laurel area. Upon investigation it was determined that a valve had failed on a 275 gallon poly tank which was leaking Oleum. The surrounding neighborhood was advised to shelter in place while the HazMat crew secured the leak. Once the situation was under control crews remained on location to assist with the transfer and neutralization of the acid (Firehouse Magazine).