St. Mary’s County First Responders Complete Training on Hazardous Materials Response

November 10, 2023

By Bay District Volunteer Fire Department Water Supply Officer Bruce Theden:

“The St. Mary’s County Hazardous Materials Response Team (Hazmat 18) visited Bay District VFD to show our members the latest equipment and capabilities they have to mitigate a hazardous materials incident.

TJ Faunce and Brendan Abell, Chief 18 and Assistant Chief respectively, provided guidance and instruction while our members got hands-on experience setting up the decontamination tent and using the materials.

Our firefighters learned everything from how to mitigate a minimum exposure incident to a full-blown mass casualty decontamination event. The first step was to deploy the inflatable shower tent used in the cleaning process.

They learned how to fully decontaminate a HazMat worker using various wipes, three-component decontamination solution in sprayers, a water shower and more.

Two firefighters suited up in HazMat suits and demonstrated the decon process from beginning to end. BDVFD firefighters learned by doing the work, supervised by the HazMat team.

Fire Captain Eddie Tatum brought a crew from Naval District Washington Fire Department (NDWFD) to compare and contrast the equipment that they would bring with HazMat 13.

Altogether, this was an excellent drill. Many thanks to HazMat 18 leaders TJ Faunce and Brendan Abell for taking the time to share their expertise with BDVFD.

The HazMat 18 team began providing service to the community in February 2006. They respond on all Hazardous Material emergencies, investigations, Chemical/Biological incidents, Weapons of Mass Destruction events, as well as specially requested emergencies.

The St. Mary’s County Hazardous Materials Response Team consists of more than 50 members from all aspects of public safety including, the Department of Public Safety, St. Mary’s County Volunteer Fire and Rescue departments, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, St. Mary’s Hospital, and the Department of Public Works.

The Team is managed and housed at the Department of Public Safety and responds to all hazardous materials incidents in St. Mary’s County. St. Mary’s also has a mutual aid agreement with NDWFD and their hazmat unit which responds from Patuxent River Naval Air Station to assist as well.”

All photos courtesy of the Bay District VFD.