Hazardous Materials Procedures
Effective first response to an incident involving hazardous materials (hazmat) is critical to minimizing the impacts of the incident in terms of public and responder safety, environmental degradation, and costs for clean up. Well-defined hazmat response policies and procedures and responder training allow first responders to accurately identify the hazardous material and direct further response. For certain spills, equipment carried in the first response vehicles can be used to contain the spills until the fire department or hazmat contractor can arrive at the scene.
While some materials are extremely hazardous in any quantity, hazardous materials response procedures are frequently invoked when a gasoline or diesel fuel spill exceeds a legally specified amount, typically 25 gallons. Some states have adopted procedures that exempt larger spills of engine fluids (gasoline, diesel fuel, oil, anti-freeze, etc.) from hazardous materials response procedures, providing the spill has been contained on the pavement. The USDOT regulations and guidelines for hazardous materials apply only to materials being transported, not engine fluids. Quick cleanup and removal of engine fluid spills can greatly reduce incident duration time.