Mahaska County Haz-Mat Goes Live

One of the new Mahaska Haz-Mat trailers.

One of the new Mahaska Haz-Mat trailers.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The process has been years in the making and starting this past weekend Mahaska County Emergency Management, in cooperation with area fire departments, is now taking the lead on any Haz-Mat incidents within the county.

This is a change from the years of SIRG being the responsible entity in a Haz-Mat situation. SIRG is located within Ottumwa Fire facilities and Mahaska County paid into the entity .85 cents per-capita. This equaled $19023.84 per year sent to SIRG, and was originally formed in 1991.

The transition from SIRG to Mahaska County Haz-Mat has “been busy” says Jamey Robinson, Mahaska County Emergency Manager. “A lot of planning. Lots of gathering equipment.”

Robinson said that making sure everything was in place, and the proverbial ‘I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed’ and he says, “We’re ready.”

Robinson was busy delivering the Haz-Mat trailers to the three departments in the county that will provide the service. Cedar Township, New Sharon and Oskaloosa Fire all have certified technicians in place and ready to respond.

Robinson added that those involved with Mahaska County Haz-Mat feel good about its launch.

The training never ends for the firefighters who will respond when called. Many of those firefighters attended a Haz-Mat technician training course last April, and their refresher training is already less than a month away. The 8 hour refresher will include responders from the three fire departments.

Many places have the Haz-Mat number posted in their emergency directories and they will now want to update that number to the Mahaska County 911 Center. The center will then be in contact with a Haz-Mat control officer. There will be a control officer on call 24 hours a day.

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