In 1983, the various fire departments in Lake County were confronted with new regulations regarding response and handling of hazardous material incidents. The training and equipment required to handle these incidents was found to be unaffordable for each department to fund and provide the numbers of trained personnel needed.
The Lake County Fire Chief’s Association assembled a new “Specialized Response Team” comprised of manpower and funds from all of the Lake County Fire Departments. In 2005 the McHenry County Fire Departments joined with Lake |County Fire Departments and the SRT is now a combined effort of both counties. This team is the Lake and McHenry Counties Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Response Team.
The Zion Fire Department has been a part of this team since it’s inception. Although all department members have basic training in Hazardous Materials, two personnel are assigned to the County Team. Department members are FF/PMs Ian Kennedy and Nick Urbanik. With funding from the various departments and generous donations of equipment and money from private industry, a team of approximately 160 technicians is now in place. This team operates two vehicles equipped with state of the art monitoring equipment, computers, Level A and B suits, communication equipment, reference materials, decontamination equipment, tools and supplies for spill and leak control and many other items necessary for management of a hazardous materials incident.