Local agencies are talking about safety on Thursday after the deadly explosion in West, Texas. The Fresno Fire Department has two HAZMAT teams working around the clock and the Fresno County Health Department monitors every business that uses hazardous chemicals.
It's too soon to know exactly what went wrong and caused the disaster in Texas, but the fire department says it's constantly training and whatever lessons come from Texas will be applied locally.
The deadly explosion Wednesday serves as a reminder of the dangers of firefighting, especially around hazardous chemicals.
"Things such as ammonium nitrate are used all over the country, especially in our area because of the the agricultural aspect of our area, and it's done safely most of the time," said Rob Brown, Fresno Fire Chief.
Brown says the Fresno Fire Department is lucky to have two HAZMAT crews. They train, research and study how chemicals react and how to approach potentially hazardous situations.
"It's hard to prepare for an explosion. You've just got to know if what you have is explosive and if it is, you need to evacuate the area to a safe distance," said David Long, a HAZMAT specialist.
One thins firefighters look for on a scene is a symbol that indicates there are chemicals inside. A book with guidelines on how to handle those chemicals is always inside the fire truck.
The Fresno County Health Department keeps tabs on about 2,500 businesses with hazardous materials, including around a dozen fertilizer distribution centers.
"Are they stored in an area where materials are properly contained... make sure there's not the ability for water to mix with the material. That there aren't incompatible materials stored nearby," said David Pomaville, Environmental Health Director.
A main goal is limiting the amount of chemicals in a facility, and protecting employees and residents from potential disaster.