There is so much that goes on behind the scenes at the Jackson Township Division of Fire.

In addition to the numerous daily emergency medical calls, fire responses and training, we staff highly trained hazardous materials technicians ready to assist with local, county and state emergency incidents 24 hours a day.

Jackson Township Division of Fire is the seventh regional fire department to join the Northwest Area Strike Team, a joint venture of seven fire departments in Franklin County. Those departments include Grandview Heights, Jackson Township, Norwich Township, Upper Arlington, Washington Township, Westerville and Worthington.

The participating fire departments assign 80 total members who work closely to provide large-scale arson and hazardous-materials emergency response to not only their communities, but also those with mutual-aid agreements. NAS-T partners with the Columbus Division of Fire and is a type-two-rated team in Ohio charged with responding to regional incidents in the county and state when dispatched.

The task-force approach has proven successful at maximizing resources of each participating agency and ultimately saving taxpayer dollars.

Worthington Division of Fire Lt. Mark Lundy leads the NAS-T emergency response team that is dispatched by the Westerville Division of Fire. Past NAS-T responses have ranged from a resident receiving an envelope with unknown white powder to a significant tanker hazardous-materials spill on a highway overpass.

"We have added some very well-trained, dedicated members to NAS-T from Jackson. Their commitment to training, preparation and professional response as well as the township's commitment to top-notch equipment and training is very evident when working with your personnel," Lundy said.

Jackson Township Division of Fire's hazardous-materials team consists of myself as the department's hazardous materials/NAS-T coordinator, and firefighter/paramedic Chad Layton as NAS-T co-coordinator. Additional Jackson Township firefighters who are members include: Daniel Cain, Chris Carper, Lt. Rich Flanagan, Adam Gatten, Dustin McCoy, Joshua Mollohan, Lt. Dan Reese, Rick Root, Greg Scarberry, Timothy Shonkwiler and Dustin Widmayer.

Our primary role in the NAS-T organization is entry, but we are prepared to perform all aspects of hazardous-materials mitigation.

Personnel from the seven participating departments meet regularly, including in training hosted by Jackson Township in August 2017. NAS-T held its full-scale annual emergency response drill in Dublin in September 2017 with all seven NAS-T departments and approximately 40 personnel participating.

Jackson Township is equipped to handle most typical hazardous-material incidents on its own, but the assistance of NAS-T personnel would be necessary for a local, large-scale response.

NAS-T, founded in 1980, is funded with federal grant assistance and resources from Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Contact me at hammondj@jacksontwp.org for more information.

Joshua Hammond is a lieutenant with the Jackson Township Division of Fire.