County hazmat team remembers 2018

January 1, 2019

Members of Somerset County Hazardous Materials Response Team 600 had a combined total of over 1,400 activity and training hours in 2018.

That included 49 hazmat-related training classes, 12 of which were conducted at the Region 13 hazmat building at the Somerset County Airport, according to Joel Landis, director of the Somerset County Department of Emergency Services. Team members totaled 31 additional activities, which included equipment work details, meetings, industrial facility tours, public outreach presentations, home fire department hazmat incident responses and equipment assists to the county fire school for hazmat-related classes.

The team was composed of 30 volunteers in 2018, with members originating from 10 of the county’s 27 volunteer fire companies. Team 600 hosted the Pennsylvania Association of Hazardous Materials Technicians annual hazmat training conference at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

In 2018 the team assisted other agencies with 15 hazmat incidents, a number that doesn’t reflect the total number of hazardous materials-related incidents that occurred in the county. Many incidents are handled on the local level by emergency first responders who have been previously trained through the hazardous materials training programs, according to Landis. The county team is only requested by local emergency response agencies when specially trained first responders and specialized response equipment is needed for resolution of the situation at hand.

A more detailed account of the team’s activities can be found online at www.co.somerset.pa.us/department.asp?deptnum=174.

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