A major hurdle has been cleared for the revitalization of the Lancaster County Foam Task Force. Thanks to the County of Lancaster, and the Lancaster County Emergency Management Agency (LEMA), the county once again has a bulk supply of firefighting foam concentrate.
Almost four years ago, on October 31, 2019, the Lancaster County Foam Task Force (LCFTF) was placed out of service indefinitely, ending 27 years of continuous service to the county, and ending 40 years of service the LFC provided as a bulk foam company. This service interruption was due to the discovery of extremely hazardous chemicals within our then-current supply of foam concentrate. This discovery required immediate disposal of all firefighting foam across the task force. Thanks to the county’s Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), we were able to dispose of the foam without incurring any cost.
Having to dispose of our foam supply was a huge setback that came at a time when the LCFTF was going through a bit of turnover. Two of the four previous member agencies dropped out of the task force, and two new companies had just been added. The disposal of the foam supply put everything on an indefinite hold.
The primary issue was finding money to restock the LCFTF with environmentally friendly solutions. Foam concentrate is expensive, and there was no room in the budget for any of the remaining LCFTF agencies to purchase it themselves. Regional funding had been redistributed to a centralized asset which is about 60 miles away, but LEMA felt with the amount of fixed and mobile commercial and industrial hazards within Lancaster County, it was important to have a foam capability here.
Earlier this year, LEMA was able to secure ARPA funding from the county to address this capability gap and bolster this county-wide asset. Last week, 675 gallons of foam concentrate arrived and is currently being distributed between the county’s three foam trailers which are located at the Lafayette Fire Company, Pequea Valley Fire Department, and Stevens Fire Company. LEMA and Hazmat 2 Environmental Fire Rescue round out the five agencies that make up the Lancaster County Foam Task Force. The next step of this project will be to work with LEMA on scheduling foam awareness, operations, and technician-level training courses to ensure the members of these agencies are prepared to respond to a major flammable liquids spill or fire. Additional coordination meetings between task force agencies will soon take place to make this a collaborative effort to best serve the County of Lancaster.
Again, we’d like to thank the Lancaster County Commissioners, Lancaster County EMA, the LEPC, and the efforts of all those who worked to re-establish this asset.