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Hazardous Materials

Hazardous Materials has become a real concern in cities with commercial and industrial businesses. Incidents like Hamilton's Plastimet Recycling fire (1998), Hagersville Tire fire (1995), and Toronto's regular industrial fires, have raised community concern over chemicals used in local businesses, or transported through the city. To deal with these concerns, municipalities and fire departments decide which level of response they will prepare and train to address.

There are 3 levels of emergency response which determine the skills firefighters learn and practice, and the tools we use to manage the situation. These levels range from:

  • "Awareness" (basic level)
  • "Operations" (intermediate)
  • "Technical" (comprehensive)

Peterborough trains and responds at the "Operations" Level, allowing crews to arrive, suit up in air-tight protective suits, rescue any victims, and use special tools to contain liquid chemical or gas releases.

For the most serious hazardous material spills or releases, PFS crews contain the situation and then the federal chemical emergency advisory centre - CANUTEC - provides contact to appropriate outside agencies for further assistance at the "Technician" level.

PFS maintains a HazMat Resource Trailer which is available to county-wide Fire & Rescue departments for industrial incidents, tractor-trailer accidents and spills, and other HazMat emergencies.

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