HazMat Technical Rescue Team
Ottawa County’s Need
With a population of 263,801 (2010 census), 2,300 miles of public roads, 50 miles of railroad tracks carrying over 50 trains per day, hundreds of industries and farms, Ottawa County has a great potential for a hazardous material release or an emergency requiring the response of a Hazardous Materials or Technical Rescue Team. As a result of the events of September 11, there has been a high interest in the preparation for and response to terrorist events. While we in Ottawa County are probably at low risk for the type of events that occurred in New York and Washington, we are at risk for the types of emergencies that occur every day.
Hazardous Materials Team History
Since the late 1980’s, the Ottawa County Fire Chiefs Association has been studying the need for a way to deal with hazardous materials incidents in Ottawa County. After September 11, 2001, federal funds were made available in the form of a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) grant for the purchase of equipment. At that time the Hazardous Materials Advisory Team with the unanimous agreement of the Ottawa County Fire Chiefs, made a proposal to the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners to form a Hazardous Materials Team. It was decided to form a team jointly funded by Ottawa County and all of the local jurisdictions within the county.
Technical Rescue Team History
The Ottawa County Technical Rescue Team was organized in 1995, with six original charter agencies on the team. The original purpose was to respond to unusual rescue situations in Ottawa County, particularly those which required extensive rope techniques. The team is capable of responding to incidents involving confined spaces, high angle rescue (vertical rope operations), low angle rescue (horizontal rope operations), trench collapse, structure collapse, vehicle extrication, and heavy equipment extrication.
General Membership Committee
The General Membership Committee includes one member from each Ottawa County jurisdiction. Additionally, a member from the OC Sheriff's Office and a Finance representative are part of the committee. Currently there are 34 members on the HazMat/Technical Rescue Team. Of the 24 Ottawa County units of government, 18 are represented by members on the team. There is also representation from GVSU, North Ottawa Community Hospital, and the OC Health Department.
Levels of Training
All members of Technical Rescue have had training in confined space rescue, collapse rescue, rope rescue, trench rescue and water rescue. They are medically trained to a minimum level of Medical First Responder and many members are trained to the EMT level. Members are cross trained to provide firefighting, emergency medical service and rescue functions. They train monthly on various scenarios. Each month activities range from high rise practical training such as the Hamilton Farm Bureau feed tower located on Van Buren St. to trench rescue training at Mirant in Zeeland.
All members of Hazardous Materials are trained to the HazMat Advanced Technician Level, which consists of 8 hours of Awareness Level, 24 hours of Operations Level and 80 hours of Advanced Technician level training, In addition, several members have taken WMD Radiological / Nuclear Training Course, an Explosive Class and Advanced HM course offered by the Dept. of Justice. 21 are Medical First Responders, two are EMTs one is a paramedic, one is a paramedic IC, two are Fire Instructors and one is a Fire Marshall. The majority of the team is also certified firefighters. The team trains monthly by practical training using simulated hazardous materials releases at facilities within the county.
Funding for the team is provided by Ottawa County and the twenty-four local political jurisdictions and by generous donations by businesses within Ottawa County.
If your business would like to make a donation, participate in a training exercise with the team, or if you would like more information, please call the Emergency Management Office at (616) 738-4051.
Tanker Spill in Crockery Township
Confined Space Drill in Spring Lake
DeCon at Grand Haven High School Drill
West Olive, MI 49460
FAX: (616) 738-4062
8:00am - 5:00pm
West Olive, MI 49460
8:00am - 5:00pm