YALAHA — The Lake County Department of Public Safety, Fire Rescue Division, received on July 11 four hazmat suits from Covanta Energy, operator of the waste-to-energy facility located in the community of Okahumpka.
The donation took place at Lake County Fire Station No. 76, located on County Road 48 in the community of Yalaha. The four hazmat suits donated by Covanta Energy are valued at $3,500 apiece. The fully encapsulating “Level A” suits are completely vapor-proof to protect emergency personnel from hazardous chemical, biological or radioactive materials. Accompanying the hazmat suits are aluminized overcovers for flash protection.
It is the second donation made by Covanta Energy to Lake County Fire Rescue. In 1996, the company donated a host of high-angle rescue equipment totaling about $7,000.
According to Gary Main, Covanta Energy Plant Manager, due to the rural character of Okahumpka, the plant initially assumed the majority of hazardous-protection measures, including hazmat certifications for staff.
“Now with the close proximity of this fire station, we get together quite frequently to conduct training exercises at the plant,” he said.
The Yalaha fire station is the hub for Lake County Fire Rescue special operations. Along with fire stations in the communities of Four Corners and Grand Island, the three stations are equipped to respond to variety of special operations, including hazardous-material spills and confined-space rescues.