Operations: Hazardous Materials
Incidents involving hazardous materials are becoming more and more prevalent. All Clark County Fire & Rescue firefighters are trained to the Haz Mat Operations level and all officers are trained to the Haz Mat Incident Command level. This level of specialized training is sufficient to handle the vast majority of Haz Mat incidents in the Clark County Fire & Rescue service area. However, occasionally we are faced with a Haz Mat incident or spill that requires technical expertise. In those rare instances, the Vancouver Fire Department Hazardous Materials Team is asked to respond and assist.
Significant Haz Mat incidents require technical expertise and are relatively rare. Additionally, the training required to train and maintain personnel at the Haz Mat Technician level is very expensive. As such, very few departments in the state of Washington maintain Haz Mat Teams.
Clark County Fire & Rescue, along with all other fire agencies in the county, entered into an interlocal agreement with Vancouver Fire several years ago to utilize its Haz Mat Team on an as needed basis. Depending of the size of the incident and the material involved, the Vancouver Haz Mat Team will provide assistance. That assistance can be as simple as a phone call to the Incident Commander at the scene to answer questions or provide technical information or it could be a full response of vehicles, equipment and technicians to the scene.
While the basic cost of the regional Haz Mat Team is provided by Vancouver Fire, much of the specialized equipment and support for the team is through Homeland Security grants. Additionally, state law allows for cost recovery for hazardous material spills.
As with most of the other specialized teams, the Vancouver Haz Mat Team will respond anywhere in Southwest Washington.