SIDNEY — After almost 30 years, the Shelby County HazMat team have finally replaced their 1979 International HazMat 2 vehicle with a newer rescue truck. The new HazMat 2 (HM2) vehicle that will respond to hazardous material spills is a 2005 Mack heavy duty rescue truck.
The Shelby County HazMat Team is a county-wide team made up of firefighters from the Sidney Fire Department and county volunteer fire departments that typically responds to hazardous material spills or fumes released into the air from various types incidents or crashes.
“I think everybody was really excited that we were able to receive the funding and find such a wonderful piece of equipment,” said Cheri Drinkwine, director of the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency. “This was something we knew we needed. Keeping (the old truck) operational was becoming costly.”
The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency purchased the $112,000 truck from funds awarded from State Homeland Security Program 2015 grant. The Shelby County EMA was awarded the grant in the amount of $113,589 in the fall of 2015, but for various reasons, couldn’t find the right vehicle until last summer.
The residual grant money or money from the future sale of the old HM2 vehicle will go to other needs for the HazMat team, said Drinkwine.
HazMat Team Chief Cameron Haller, who is also the Sidney deputy fire chief, said they had been trying to find a way to replace the old vehicle since 2005, so it’s “great no local funds were used, only state grant funds were used to pay for the vehicle.”
The HazMat team has two vehicles and an equipment trailer to respond to an incident. HazMat 1 is the support/logistics unit. It contains all data and data processing equipment and serves as a command center. HM2 contains tools, containment equipment, personal protection equipment (PPE), generators, heater units, decon equipment and a shower unit. It also tows the equipment trailer that contains PPE, decon equipment, tools and containment equipment.
HM2 is a necessary tool for Shelby County HazMat’s team to maintain a Type II certification, Drinkwine said. The truck contains necessary tools for decontamination up to 25 gallons of exposed hazardous materials.
The Shelby County Type II team is located between two Type I teams, located in Dayton and Lima. The difference between the two types of teams is that a Type I team is more highly trained to handle Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and terrorist incidents, Haller said.
Drinkwine wrote the grant, but said everyone worked together on the project, including the EMA, the HazMat team and former Shelby County EMA Emergency Management Specialist Sam Reed, who she said scoured through websites looking for the right vehicle.
Drinkewine said, in August, Haller and a member of Fort Loramie’s volunteer fire department, who is also a city of Sidney mechanic, traveled to the vehicle’s location in Alabama to inspect it before purchasing and transporting it to Ohio.
This is the third HM2 vehicle for the team since 1984, she said. The first vehicle was a smaller truck; the second vehicle, the 1979 International, was prior Pepsi beverage delivery vehicle and is also much smaller than the 2005 Mach truck. Drinkwine said the Mach truck came with a fresh paint job and new tires, and otherwise was ready for use when purchased. All they needed to do was transfer all of the team’s supplies, she said.
Haller said the new truck only had 65,000 miles on it when they inspected it, so although it is a 2005, it is new to the team, fully equipped and ready to respond.
“Anybody is more than welcome at Station 1 to come and see it and what they can count on,” Haller said about Tuesday’s open house.
The open house set for the public to view the new Shelby County HazMat 2 vehicle will be on Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Sidney Fire Department Station 1, 222 W. Poplar St. Refreshments will be served and a HazMat team member will be on hand to provide information.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.
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