Because Seward County, Liberal, and Kismet may be exposed to a chemical accident either in transit (Highway or Railroad), from storage in residential areas or from use in a number of industrial processes locally, it makes sense that we are prepared to deal with this type of incident. Seward County Emergency Management in cooperation with Seward County Fire Department has established a team that is a member of the statewide hazardous materials emergency response program. The team is made up of firefighters and industry personnel and is recognized by the Kansas State Fire Marshal's office as State Team Number Five.
The program, administered by the State Fire Marshal's office, provides emergency response services to jurisdictions without the capability to safely deal with hazardous chemical incidents on their own. The Haz-Mat Team exists through a contract between the local fire department and the State Fire Marshal's office. Seward County Fire Department agrees to provide team members and regional response to local jurisdictions. The State Fire Marshal's office provides training and equipment at no cost to the county and reimburses all costs associated with actual responses.
Team members have devoted hundreds of hours of training and are certified nationally as Hazardous Materials Technicians. This group brings special tools and equipment to an incident so that the team can safely control and remove hazards from areas where life and property are at risk. Haz-Mat Technicians are trained to operate in lethal environments for extended periods of time, so they can minimize risk to the general public. Team members attend refresher training throughout the year and also hold a training meeting once per month to remain proficient of the required knowledge and skills.