Volunteer fire departments depend on others for hazmat aid - KCTV5 News

Volunteer fire departments depend on others for hazardous material protection

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Small volunteer fire departments don't have the resources like big city departments to have a hazardous materials unit.

The equipment and training are expensive with one truck costing up to $1 million.

That's where other departments come in.

Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Saffell, of the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, said some small volunteer fire departments simply don't have the resources to complete federally mandated training because their firefighters have regular jobs.

Central Jackson County provides equipment, chemists and trained crews for smaller fire departments.

"We cover Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Lake Tapawingo and surrounding counties," Saffell said. "We joined forces 23 years ago. The combined monies allow us to have a team."

Tackling a fire in a building where chemicals are stored is one of the most dangerous assignments that a firefighter faces. There are eight recognized hazmat teams in Kansas City metro that are equipped to handle mass hazmat emergencies.

If another agency needs assistance with a major event, like the Kansas City Fire Department, they can depend on the other agencies.

"They know when they call they're getting the same equipment and training," Saffell said.

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