Each year Marietta fire units respond to about 400 calls that are classified as true hazardous materials incidents. A hazardous material is any item or agent-biological, chemical, physical-that has the potential to cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment either by or through interaction with other factors. Often fire personnel encounter hazardous materials when they respond to other types of calls for service. For example, motor vehicle accidents create hazards such as fuel spills; while the danger of a fuel spill from a passenger car may be relatively small, one from an overturned dump truck with ruptured 50 gallon saddle fuel tanks could pose serious a threat to the environment.
If the first fire unit on a scene is unaware that an underlying condition exists, a situation can rapidly mushroom beyond that unit's capability. When this occurs, the fire officer requests a response by hazardous materials crews. Most of the crews operate at the Technician level. A number of Marietta Firefighters have attended Advanced Hazmat School and are certified as Specialists; crews rely on these individuals for their advanced knowledge of atmospheric hazards, proper sampling techniques, and patient decontamination procedures. Browse through photos of the Hazardous Material team training.