State shuts down Genesee County hazmat team

The Genesee County hazmat team is suspended following a state investigation.

The 28-member squad has been temporarily shut down following an investigation led by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

MIOSHA claims members of the team were not given the same fitness tests and physical evaluations.

Mundy Township Fire Chief Ed Blight is the hazmat director.

He says county paperwork never laid out the guidelines.

"In that document it didn't spell out who was responsible for having the fit testing done and the physicals," says Blight.

In the meantime, Genesee County will call on Oakland and Saginaw counties for any incidents dealing with hazardous materials.

"If we do have an event they'll work with us and bring any resources we might need in Genesee County," says Blight.

According to 9-1-1 dispatch officials, those incidents are few and far between.

911 director, Lloyd Fayling says, "if it gets real serious that's why we have the hazmat team they're very valuable but at the same time situations are rather limited last year we had five hazmat calls."

That's not stopping leaders from working to get this team back in shape.

"The sheriff, office of Emergency Manager, fire chiefs will be discussing trying to make sure we get that process in place," says Blight.

Chief Blight says Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell plans to meet with all fire departments next month to establish a uniformed fitness and physical policy.

They hope to have the hazmat team back in service by the end of April.