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Hazmat 1 ready for action

Lexington firefighters have started training on their newest piece of equipment: a hazardous-materials truck purchased last fall using a $600,000 federal grant that was issued through the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security.

The truck was built by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wis., with design help from Lexington hazmat firefighters. It was delivered in November. The grant covered the cost of the truck and much of the built-in equipment. The rest was transferred from existing trucks.

The truck, 38 feet long and weighs about 48,000 pounds, replaces two trucks that were used to carry equipment. It is used as the frontline hazmat platoon truck.

The truck, Hazmat 1, carries chemical protective gear for a full entry team of 15 and equipment to identify hazardous chemical and mitigate contaminants. It has a command cab, a rolling research center with Internet access, satellite and broadcast television, a weather station and several flat panel monitors. A camera is mounted on a 20-foot tall retractable pole to provide reconnaissance from over a mile away from the scene of a hazardous materials incident. A bank of intense lights are on a pole that stretches 30 feet.

"We have more response capability in one truck as opposed to two," said Major Brian Wainscott.

Pablo AlcalÁ