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Updated Hazardous Materials Course Offers Enhanced Training

The risk of hazardous materials on the American home front is realistic. Whether an accidental or manmade threat, emergency response personnel require the ability to safely respond, save lives and investigate. The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) provides fully-funded hazardous materials training at its resident facility located in Anniston, AL.

Among its many classes, the CDP will increase the training days for its popular hazmat course in late October. The Hazardous Materials Technician for CBRNE Incidents (HT) course increased  from 24 hours to 40 hours, adding two full days to the training. The HT course provides students an overview of both international and domestic threats, with a spotlight on identification and decontamination of biological, chemical and radiological hazards.

“The new five-day HT class will give the students more opportunities to work with the instrumentation and increase the hands-on portion significantly,” said Chuck Medley, chief, Training Management Branch. “The new concept will take the students through a thorough crawl, walk and run scenario and more extensively challenge them during their final exercise.”

The course also includes hazardous materials technical training for operating in an all-hazards environment and collection of crime scene evidence. The HT course presents training that incorporates advanced competencies, technologies and tactics that focus on the specific threats associated with chemical, biological, radiological and explosive material.

In addition to the new five-day course, the CDP recently reopened its “HazMat Training Lanes” following a six-month renovation. The updated training area boasts a modern learning environment including a sound effects system, automated smoke delivery, observation cameras and special lighting-all managed from a central control center.

“The enhanced training area provides additional space for improved scenarios focusing on chemical, biological and radiological response,” said Medley. “In total, the new five-day HT course is more comprehensive with a focus on what responders have requested – more time to conduct practical exercises in a realistic training environment, covering critical response topics.”

Students navigate dark hallways filled with smoke and search for survivors and suspects, while carefully preserving crime scene evidence. A mock post office, office area, court room and obstacles to negotiate, creates the setting for a simulated explosion, or chemical or biological release. The scenario continues with a trip to the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological training facility (COBRA). The COBRA is the only facility in the nation conducting civilian training exercises in a toxic chemical agent environment, adding biological materials to the training scenarios earlier this year.

The CDP plays a leading role in preparing municipal, state and local responders to prepare for and respond to manmade events or major accidents involving hazardous or toxic materials, to include mass casualties. The course is open to a wide variety of response disciplines with hazardous material qualifications; from the fire service and emergency medical services, to healthcare, law enforcement and emergency management.

To learn more about the Center for Domestic Preparedness, visit http://cdp.dhs.gov or call 866-213-9553. 

SHANNON ARLEDGE is a public affairs specialist with the Center for Domestic Preparedness.

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