People You Gotta See in the HazMat Business

Over the years I have attended thousands of hours of HazMat training, both in formal courses and at conferences and seminars. While there have been numerous qualified speakers and instructors, and even some who were not, a few have stood out for various...


Over the years I have attended thousands of hours of HazMat training, both in formal courses and at conferences and seminars. While there have been numerous qualified speakers and instructors, and even some who were not, a few have stood out for various reasons. Lasting impressions were cemented in my memory because of the way they presented, the techniques and innovations they used, the knowledge, experience, and wisdom they conveyed, or because of the passion they brought to the classroom. All of these reasons made me become a better responder, a better presenter, a better instructor, but more importantly these experiences helped propel my own career.

I want to share with you my short list of exceptional HazMat speakers, presenters, or instructors who I believe make a big difference in this business because of all of the above but more so because of the intangibles they possess that put them in a class of their own. These fire service/HazMat responders are true leaders in that they have blazed new paths, they have shifted paradigms, and they have raised the bar and pushed the envelope. The following people are a cut above for reasons I will describe below and they should not be missed at the conferences and seminars across the country.

Also, time is of the essence for some of these people because Father Time marches on! Yes, the years of accumulating knowledge and experience are starting to take their toll and some of these fine people are starting to retire and may soon hang-up their public presentation offerings. My "Six Pack" of the HazMat elite are presented here in no particular order;

Ron Gore
He is a consummate professional from the Jacksonville, FL, area who is retired from the fire service where he spent 25 years as a captain. What is noteworthy is that Ron started the first public safety HazMat team in the United States in 1977 for the Jacksonville Fire Department and he also began training others across the country in 1978 through his own business. Ron can be reached through his website at www.safetysystems-rongore.com where his training classes are also listed. Ron is hard to catch though as he can still be found active in the field and even on top of rail cars showing others how things work or even learning more himself.

Bill Hand
Another memorable presenter and 31-year veteran of the fire service who recently retired from the Houston Fire Department, Bill is without peer when it comes to many topics concerning hazardous materials but especially on the topic of HazMat containers. A passionate hazardous materials responder who unrelentingly pursues more knowledge, Bill is renowned for sharing his knowledge with anyone who will listen. Bill's calm demeanor and nuts and bolts approach belies that fact that he knows and understands hazmat as well as anyone. Catch him at any number of conferences across the country and learn from the best. Bill is also one who will respond to e-mail questions and will usually have the answer soon after you ask it.

Bill is also an original member of the International Association of Fire Fighter's (IAFF) Hazardous Materials Training Department that was formed in 1987. Not only has he been an active Master Instructor in the program he has also been very instrumental in curriculum development adding many of his own pictures and research to the courses that have been developed. Bill's legacy will certainly be one of sharing his knowledge freely to help make all of us better and safer.

Frank Docimo
Frank is a long-time firefighter and fire officer from Connecticut who is best known for his high-spirited presentations and instruction in the area of HazMat response. You will not soon forget his teaching methods and content from any number of his classes. Frank is especially known for his METERSR program that details how and why air monitoring instruments operate. METERSR stands for "Monitor the Environment To Ensure Responder Safety" and it lives up to the promise of making air monitoring concepts crystal clear. Frank can be contacted through his website at www.docimo.com. In 1987 he formed a training company and now can be found training around the world. Everyone needs to see Frank Docimo present on-air monitoring topics as he will leave an indelible impression.

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