TOLEDO, Ohio — It was all clear at the two Hazmat scenes Monday but crews still had to respond with the same intensity, which consumed a lot of the city's resources.
From the personnel to the specialized equipment and intensive gear, these calls demand a lot from the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department.
But department leaders said this is what they are trained for and ready to do.
It's all about safety from the moment the call comes in, whether it's a real threat or a false alarm, Toledo Fire recall their training.
"It doesn't matter if it's one out of 10,0 we're prepared for that one,” said Pvt. Sterling Rahe, spokesman for the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department. “Because we approach them all the same. It's good practice for us in real time, the crews understand that and they work that way. They take a methodically approach to it."
The specific hazmat training is extensive and can be expensive. Toledo is the only Type One team in our region, making them the go-to for incidents like we saw in Downtown Toledo and Sylvania Township Monday and the one in Bowling Green earlier this summer.
"We will respond from Sandusky as far as Lima, where the other hazmat Type One team is all the way to the Indiana and Michigan border,” Rahe said. “So, we have a large region we cover. That Type One team, basically, we will respond up to 25 to 30 individuals because we have to have a lot of self-sustaining capabilities."
Neighboring departments like Sylvania Township Fire said Toledo's Hazmat team is essential, especially on days like this.
"Having a good hazmat team like Toledo's takes a lot of training a lot of resources, a lot of money,” Sylvania Township Deputy Chief Mike Froelich said. “And shared resources like that drive everything."
Toledo’s special detection equipment helped them determine that Monday’s two hazmat scenes were false alarms and everyone was safe, but the incidents did take a lot of personnel and resources.
These incidents tend to take more time because of the testing process, leaving crews on the scene longer and away from other calls.
Hazmat calls can also be expensive. For example, some of the suits can cost as much as a thousand dollars and must be disposed after use.
"There are some resource management challenges that go with this, but those are some of the things we are looking to improve,” Rahe said. “And our special operations bureau is looking at that to see how some of those costs can be recouped. "
While two incidents in one day is rare, fire crews said they are train for moments like this in order to protect the city.