Hazmat Team Priorities: Funding and Training

As law enforcement agencies develop their ability to respond to hazardous materials incidents, it is essential that local fire and police departments cooperate and establish guidelines that clearly define each department’s role and responsibilities...


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In most jurisdictions, the fire and police departments work well together. But there are places where they fail to communicate or constantly squabble because of a grudge that began so long ago no one can remember how it started. All of that has to end. This is a time for cooperation and teamwork, with fire and police keeping each other informed while planning, training and working together, not only to meet the threat of terrorism, but to cope with the potential hazmat disasters that face us every day.

On a personal note, I want to thank Chief Dennis Compton for the excellent job he did writing this column for the past three issues while I was recovering from bypass surgery. I also want to thank all of my friends in the fire-rescue service for your good wishes and cheers at a time when I needed some cheering up. This really is a family and I feel proud and lucky to be a part of it.

I’m making a strong recovery, despite my constant craving for chicken-fried steak with white country gravy (which I’m forbidden to have). Finally, I want to urge all of you, if you ever feel the symptoms we learned about in CPR class, do what I did – call 911 and give those firefighters and paramedics, doctors and nurses a chance to save your life.


Hal Bruno, a Firehouse® contributing editor, retired as political director for ABC News in Washington and served almost 40 years as a volunteer firefighter. He is a director of the Chevy Chase, MD, Fire Department and chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.