MCFR's Hazardous Materials Team responded to more than 150
emergencies during the 2007-2008 fiscal year, including gas
leaks, fuel spills, carbon monoxide emergencies, aircraft
emergencies and many other hazmat calls. Crewmembers also logged
more than 2,700 training hours. If citizens have a hard time
understanding the capabilities of a hazardous materials team,
they should remember this: BNICE, technicians can identify
Biological, Nuclear, Incendiary, Chemical and Explosive
materials. Life safety is the number one priority when
responding to hazmat calls. Their first goal is to rescue the
patients then decontaminate anyone exposed to the product. After
that, they focus on identifying the product and mitigating the
Marion County is known for its central location, farms and rapid
growth. Hundreds of semis and tankers carrying acids,
bases, corrosives and explosives drive through Marion County
every day, traveling major roads such as I-75, U.S. 301, U.S.
441, U.S. 27 and S.R. 40 to name a few. Most farm owners also
use pesticides to grow successful crops.
If technicians respond to a hazardous materials incident on a
farm or freeway and need to decontaminate a patient, crews set
up a decontamination tent in the field. This enables hazmat
technicians to remove contaminated clothing, rinse contaminated
patients and scrub patients using a decontamination solution.
The process usually takes three to eight minutes per person.
Hazmat technicians are trained to quickly identify whether a
product is a solid, liquid or gas; whether it's organic or
inorganic; and whether it's easily absorbed, inhaled or
injected. They can also compute the vapor pressure and molecular
weight of a product to determine the "hot zone," or area most at
This information not only helps technicians decide whether to
evacuate an area, but it also helps them provide better care to
patients in the field.
Hazmat technicians are responsible for working and training with
other agencies, rescuing and decontaminating patients,
identifying products and mitigating hazards.
For example, if a tanker truck overturns and spills hundreds of
gallons of gasoline on the ground, crews will mitigate the
hazard by ensuring a private contractor follows proper state and
federal guidelines when cleaning up and disposing of the
product. This prevents potential damage to the environment and