Whippany Fire Department Special Service's

Swift Water Rescue

Whippany is located in an area with several bodies of water that vary in size and intensity. These bodies of water are a source of recreational pleasure, but pose immediate danger to those that work and play in and around these bodies of water. Also, it has become all to common to hear about a violent storm moving through the area, causing flooding and stranding motorists. Many people take these storms for granted, but the power of only a few inches of water can be devastating, it can even sweep away a fire truck (ask one of swift water technicians about it!).

In 1939, Chief James Tighe purchased the first rescue boat to aid in drowning operations. Since then, we have made a few improvements, most notable in 2000, when the WFD purchased a Zodiac Swift water rescue boat and had a team of firefighters trained to the Swiftwater First Responder level. These Personnel are provided with shore-based rescue techniques and defensive swimming training in a swiftwater environment. This provides fire personnel with needed skills to protect themselves and the public. A select group of these firefighters have gone on to the Swiftwater Rescue Level I Technician level which covers scene management, hydrology and river hazards, boat based rescues, technical rescues systems, contact rescues, victim assessments and stabilization, and this still only scratches the surface.

The Whippany Fire Department Swift Water Trailer is equipped with a Zodiac Rescue Boat, 14ft metal row boat, personal flotation devices, helmets, and rope-throw bags for the protection of all personnel in and around water-related incidents.

Hazardous Materials Team

The WFD Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Response Team is designed to provide a specialized response of personnel and equipment to incidents involving materials that present a physical, health, biological or radiological hazard to the public. The team?s mission is hazardous materials identification, implementation of control procedures, containment of hazardous materials, rendering incident areas safe and performing decontamination procedures on the scene of hazardous materials incidents.

Hazardous Materials Incidents are categorized according to the magnitude and/or potential of an incident. Incidents are classified Category 1 through Category 4, with Category 4 being the most critical and having the greatest potential for extreme adverse health or environmental consequences.

All members of the HazMat Team are equipped with specialized equipment called Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE consists of chemical resistant clothing, gloves, and boots, hard hats, coveralls and two-way radio communications. The level of protection required on scene depends upon the amount and type of hazardous chemicals involved.

During an incident, several positions are established to ensure the safety of all involved. A HazMat Commander is designated to manage all operations within the site of the incident. The HazMat Operations Officer reports to the HazMat Commander and oversees all operations relating to the entry of personnel into the site of the incident.

A Safety Officer is designated to perform a site specific Hazard/Risk Assessment in accordance with available resources and information. The Safety Officer has the full authority to suspend operations if the immediate safety and health of personnel are endangered.

A HazMat Medical Officer is responsible for the medical evaluation and monitoring of personnel operating at the site, as well as treating personnel exposed to products at the incident. A Decontamination Officer oversees all operations for the decontamination of personnel, patients and equipment. The Research Officer is on scene to obtain detailed information regarding the properties of the hazardous materials involved and the possible health effects from over-exposure.

All members of the Hazardous Materials Response Team complete many hours of specialized training, and attend regularly scheduled meetings and drills. Using their specialized skills and knowledge, members of the HazMat Team work together to ensure the protection of the community.