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News Release

March 2, 2011      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

Dutchess County’s HazMat Team Wins Statewide Competition
2nd Year in a row for dedicated volunteers

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Emergency Response Coordinator Dana Smith congratulate the volunteer members of the Dutchess County Hazardous Materials Response Team (HazMat), who have won the HazMat Challenge 2011 in Montour Falls, NY for the second year in a row.   The event was part of the 18th Annual HazMat Training Program, hosted by the New York State Academy of Fire Science, held February 18 - 20, 2011.

The HazMat Challenge is designed to provide hazardous materials teams with an opportunity to practice typical response drills and incorporate skills learned in training, while competing against their colleagues from across New York State.

“Our county is blessed with top notch Hazardous Material Technicians who volunteer their time and talent to help protect our residents,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “Their commitment to training has again paid off with best in state honors.   Congratulations to all the team members!”  Eight members of Dutchess County’s HazMat Team participated in the Challenge including:

  • Alex Elie, HazMat Team Captain
  • Brian Hay, HazMat Technician
  • Eric Phillip, HazMat Technican
  • Scott Bianco, HazMat Technician
  • Noel Dillon, HazMat Technician
  • Lloyd Frink, HazMat Technician
  • Bill Feracchi, HazMat Technician
  • Kent Amsden, HazMat Technician

As part of the HazMat Challenge, participants performed various hazmat entry related tasks while wearing “Level A” Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).   Level A- PPE consists of a self-contained breathing apparatus and a totally encapsulating chemical-protective (TECP) suit and provides the highest level of respiratory, eye, mucous membrane, and skin protection.   The tasks included:

  • Overpacking exercise – placing a leaking 55 gallon drum into an 85 gallon “overpack” recovery container.
  • Transportation of 55 gallon drum in and out of building over a distance of 200 feet.
  • Stopping a leak on a pressurized leak simulator
  • Applying a chlorine "C" kit installation to a simulated leaking railroad tank car
  • Liquid sample retrieval
  • Decontamination of a contaminated patient.

Dutchess County’s HazMat team scored a perfect “10” on the overpacking exercise, drum transportation exercise and pressurized leak simulator exercise from all 5 judges.

 “Congratulations to all of our HazMat team members,” said Emergency Response Coordinator Dana Smith. “Our HazMat team trains hard all year long to be ready for anything that comes up and we are thrilled to have them recognized statewide for their work.”

Deputy Fire Coordinator Steve VanBuren, who serves as Chief of the County’s HazMat Team said, “This Statewide competition gives our Team membership the ability to demonstrate their skills and benchmark ourselves against the other Teams. It gives me a high degree of assurance that when faced with an emergency in Dutchess County our Team is up to the task at hand.”

This is the second year in a row the Dutchess County Hazardous Materials Division has won the State competition.   Last year’s competition win earned the team free admission to this year’s training program, ensuring the team received critical annual training at no cost to county property taxpayers.   This year’s win has also earned the team the training at no cost for 2012.

The Dutchess County Hazardous Materials Division consists of 22 volunteers, who are on call 24 hours a day to respond to and assist in coordinating and managing incidents when hazardous materials are suspected to be involved. This skilled, volunteer team meets monthly for training and meets all Public Employee Safety & Health (PESH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements and responds within the Hudson Valley region as well as Dutchess County.

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