First Call Environmental is a private hazmat and environmental response company that offers a range of services from 27 offices. Its staff of 200 strong are either full time or brought in on call, especially where specialized skills are needed.
The company has a fleet of specialty equipment including vacuum tucks, roll-offs, waste hauling vehicles, blasting equipment and boats. The company says its employees perform all the work — nothing is brokered out — and that it responds on scene within two hours of being called out.
All field personnel complete First Call University, a comprehensive, training curriculum to ensure that they safely perform hazardous waste site operations. This program exceeds 29 CFR 1910.120 and includes an initial 40-hour training course, annual update training and incident command training.
It also includes quarterly training for managers, supervisors and employees who may respond to emergency situations involving hazardous materials on rail, waterway and fixed facilities. The training curriculum is updated to comply with federal, state and local regulations.
In addition to the regular training, the company adds a training wrinkle with readiness drills.
For the readiness drills, a manager creates live jobs for offices in different regions to “clean-up” and work through. The manager who creates the job is treated as a real customer and presents different questions, concerns and problems throughout the readiness drill to help the crews problem solve and be prepared for anything.
The founders started the company in 2009 to address a need to better serve the community through quicker response times and more through environmental cleanups.
First Call says its biggest win has been its ability to grow rapidly allowing it to continue to remove hazardous and non-hazardous waste from the planet at a larger scale.
Staffing is the company’s biggest challenge. As it continues to grow, so does its need for dedicated employees.