A hazardous material (hazmat) is a substance or material which has been determined by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported in commerce and which has been so designated [Title 49, U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Transportation, Parts 100-199].
The Newton Fire Department has 15 firefighters trained as Hazmat Technicians, in addition to their regular fire and emergency medical responsibilities. Hazmat Technicians are trained in the knowledge, skills and abilities to identify and take action to minimize the consequences of a hazmat release to people, property and our environment. The department works in conjunction with other communities in Jasper County, providing hazmat assistance as needed.
For major incidents involving the release of hazardous materials, Newton Fire has joined in training and preparedness with our neighboring departments to respond as a part of an expanded inter agency cooperative response.
Our technicians' expertise is sufficiently great enough to meet all current OSHA Regulations and NFPA Standards, while being flexible enough to join together in operations with groups such as the FBI, Civil Support Team of the National Guard, and all of the Jasper County Fire Departments.
Our hazmat team members have received specialized training in emergency response to terrorist incidents, Weapons of Mass Destruction and other types of natural disaster training. The county's hazmat unit is stocked with environmental monitoring and testing equipment, personal protective equipment, chemical reference library and a purifying air compressor to recharge the cylinders for our Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus.
The hazmat vehicle also responds to heavy rescue incidents and is equipped for ice rescue situations. The hazmat unit also serves the department by providing lighting, electricity, and purified air support on structure fire scenes.