The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Many professions require regular training, including firefighting. Firefighters attend regular trainings every so often, but these sessions can feel monotonous after a while. However, these trainings help keep information fresh in their minds and prepare them for various emergencies. One such training is hazmat training. There’s lots of information that firefighters need to know about hazmat training. We’ve explained some of the details they may have glossed over in their training below.
Expect Hazmat Risks on Every Call
If you’re a new firefighter, you may think that the biggest hazard you face on the job is the fire itself. However, every call you answer presents a potential hazmat risk. You don’t know what types of materials are present at any scene, from a house fire that has a meth lab in the basement to a car wreck that’s spilling gasoline. You should always have your hazmat training in mind and keep an eye out for hazardous materials when you approach any scene.
Levels of Hazmat Response
There are three levels of hazmat response that firefighters can execute: awareness, operations, and technician. All firefighters meet the awareness level of hazmat response because their regular training keeps them aware of potential hazmat dangers. This prevents them from accidentally contributing to a hazmat problem. At an operations level of response, they aren’t just aware of hazmat problems but can evaluate them and provide supplies and management to help solve the issue. To reach this level, they must receive additional training. Lastly, a firefighter can have a technician level of response, which requires further training. Technician-level firefighters can appropriately interact with hazards and stabilize hazardous situations. Firefighters can choose which level of response they want to participate in.
Hazmat Possibilities in Your Community
Although you can choose which level of response you want to participate in when facing a hazmat situation, all levels of training should make you aware of hazmat possibilities in your community. One of the most frequent hazmat situations firefighters face, regardless of response level, is transportation problems. There are nine classes of hazardous waste you should know, and it’s legal to transport them all if you have the right markings on the vehicle. Memorize these classes and their symbols during your training so that you can discern whether these materials are present when responding to a transportation incident or other situation in your community.
Hazmat training is required for all firefighters, but you can choose to receive extra training to provide a higher response level. Regardless of how much training they receive, firefighters need to know that every call is potentially hazardous and stay aware of specific hazmat possibilities in their community.