Hazardous Materials are a fact of modern life. Many of the things we take for granted every day, such as fueling our cars, having our clothes dry cleaned, having your pictures developed, etc., all involve hazardous materials. Hazardous materials, when handled properly and in their normal containment, do not represent a hazard. However, when misused and out of their normal containment, hazardous materials can be harmful, and sometimes deadly.
The Chino Valley Fire District Fire Prevention Division regulates hazardous materials to prevent spills and releases and also provides Technical Reference in the event of a hazardous materials emergency.
To handle hazardous materials emergencies, every Chino Valley Fire District firefighter in the field is trained and certified at the First Responder Operational level. In addition, every year all firefighters receive at least eight hours of refresher training on how to handle hazardous materials during an emergency response. They are also trained in handling terrorism incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.
There are 19 Fire District personnel that are trained as Hazardous Materials Specialists, having received 240 hours of training each. This training is the highest level of hazardous materials emergency response training established by the government. All 19 are also members of the West End Hazardous Materials Team, one of three regional hazardous materials teams in San Bernardino County. This team is comprised of personnel from the Chino Valley Fire District and the fire departments of the cities of Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, and Montclair. The West End Hazardous Materials Team can respond to major haz-mat emergencies in any of these jurisdictions, and can assist in mutual aid responses in other surrounding jurisdictions.
The Fire District has specialized equipment to help firefighters safely handle major hazardous materials incidents. This equipment includes special hazardous materials suits, chemical testing equipment to help identify unknown materials, software and equipment that can predict if a release will create a toxic plume, how far and where that plume is likely to go, and when it is likely to dissipate. The Fire District also has a variety of emergency decontamination equipment and supplies, and many other types of specialized equipment to handle hazardous materials incidents safely and effectively.
While handling hazardous materials emergencies is a highly technical process, The Chino Valley Fire District is trained and well equipped to respond and handle these incidents quickly, effectively and safely.