Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Response
Hazardous materials are defined as:
Any substance or combination of substances which because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical, biological, or infectious characteristics, may either cause, or significantly contribute to, an increase in mortality or an increase in serious, irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness; or pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of or otherwise managed.
The accidental discharge of hazardous materials is a relatively frequent occurrence in Rutherford County. Fortunately, the vast majority of these incidents are relatively insignificant, and pose no serious threat to nearby populations.
Large numbers of hazardous materials are transported via interstate, highway, air-freight, rail, and pipeline across the county daily. A minute number of these are involved in accidents in any given week. Rutherford County has over 30 miles of major interstate with as much railroad. On an average 30 rail transports and 8,000 tractor trailer transports cross the county on a daily basis all of which carry some form of hazardous material. This does not include personal vehicle travel or other commercial transport.
There also exists several industrial concerns over manufacturing processes, storage, or utilization of hazardous materials on a daily basis.
Rutherford County EMA expends numerous hours yearly conducting planning, training, and exercises for HAZAMT response.