The response to hazardous material incidents is a highly technical and closely regulated response category that requires specialized training and knowledge.
There are 26 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 26 hazardous materials specialists 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 hazardous material emergencies in any of these jurisdictions, and can assist in mutual aid responses in other surrounding jurisdictions.
In addition, all Chino Valley Fire District firefighters are trained and certified at the First Responder Operational level. They receive at least eight hours of refresher training annually on how to handle hazardous materials during an emergency response. They are also trained in handling terrorism incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.
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.
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.