Wausau’s Hazardous Incident Team (HIT) is a Type II regional "Level A" hazardous materials response teams designated by the State of Wisconsin to provide assistance in hazardous materials emergencies. The team can be activated for any incident involving a hazardous materials release, leak, explosion, injury, or potential of immediate threat to life, the environment, or property. The Wausau Regional Response Team is part of the large group including other communities including Appleton, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Racine, and Superior the make up the State Regional Hazmat group.
Within Marathon County, the team provides communities with "Level B" and "Level A" hazardous materials support. The Wausau Fire Department works with other local fire departments during a potential hazmat incident that overwhelms local assets.
There are three levels (Level I, II, and III) of hazardous material incident responses that vary in the amount of personnel and equipment needed, as well as the level of protection needed at a given incident. Level III incidents can be readily controlled and stabilized by properly trained and equipped first responders. Level III incidents do not require the HIT to respond to the scene, although HIT personnel might be contacted for technical assistance. Level II incidents require the expertise and resources of the hazardous incident strike team. The strike team would travel anywhere they are needed and, would arrive on location to assist in on-site advisory, on-site assessment and analysis, on-site identification, and on-site mitigation. Level I incidents are classified as emergencies and require a full response with expanded personnel above the strike team. Adequate personnel would be transported to the scene to conduct team operations. All hazardous material emergency operations (Levels I, II, and III) follow an eight step process including site control, identification of product(s), hazard & risk assessment, personal protective equipment evaluation, information and resource coordination, control measures, decontamination, and termination activities.
The core members of Wausau’s Hazardous Incident Team are located at Station 1. There are core team members with specialized hazardous materials operations training. In addition, there are over 50 personnel located throughout the 3 fire stations that have hazardous materials training and are ready for calls in the event of a hazardous materials incident. The Mobile Command Trailer is located at Station 1. The mobile command trailer contains all the necessary equipment and tools to operate as a mobile command center at a hazardous materials incident. This includes level A, B, and C personal protective equipment, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), communications equipment, hazardous materials databases, maps, weather station, audio & video equipment, hazardous materials monitors and detectors, decontamination equipment, and other assorted equipment.
The training coordinator for the team is Battalion Chief Al Antolik and he oversees the training each month for all members. For more information or to request the Hazardous Materials Team for an outreach event contact the Wausau Fire Department Station 1 at (715) 261-7900. For more information on the Wisconsin Regional Response Team, contact Wisconsin Emergency Management at 1-800-943-0003 (press 2).