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Hazmat help from county

December 14, 2002

Ryan Carter

The Burbank Fire Department hazardous materials team doesn't just

clean up messes in the city -- this week, members were sent to assist

in a street chemical incident near Santa Clarita.

The call Tuesday ended up being canceled, but if Los Angeles

County firefighters such as the ones in the Santa Clarita area need

Hazmat aid again, Burbank would assist because of a recent agreement.

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Burbank and Los Angeles County officials agreed on a mutual-aid

deal that would send local Hazmat teams to county incidents mostly in

the west Valley if county Hazmat crews can't get there soon enough.

In return, county resources would be available to Burbank in the

event of a major calamity.

The deal, finalized in August and implemented last month, will

also include Burbank responses to fires at Universal Studios.

"It's the old principal of quid pro quo," Asst. Chief Norm

Stockton said. "Some day, we might have a major incident and we might

need them that day.

"When you have a big disaster, after not aiding them when they

needed it, it would be pretty tough if they said they weren't

coming," he added.

Burbank's Hazmat team is based at Station 12 at 644 N. Hollywood

Way. Under the agreement, it would go any- where in county

jurisdiction.

The agreement was about three years in the making, officials said.

It was driven by the need share resources, ongoing mutual-aid

agreements and a need to streamline dispatching services at the

multi-agency communications hub known as Verdugo Dispatch.

Burbank Battalion Chief Tracy Pansini said the Hazmat climate

following Sept. 11 also played a major role in the agreement

decision.

"With the emphasis on homeland security and with weapons of mass

destruction, Hazmat teams are crucial to protecting citizens and

mitigating the hazards," Pansini said.

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