1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Borderstate
    Posts
    900

    Lightbulb Wakeup Chief!Awareness Level HazMat not for responders!

    All first responders should be trained to the hazardous materials operations level,giving them a rudimentary knowledge of HazMat response.OSHA is clear on what is needed for responders and awareness level hazMat is not the level needed.I know in rural Kentucky fire departments have been more than willing to hide at the awareness level ,thinking that this was enough.I hope in the near future that operations level HazMat will be made mandatory across the commonweath for firefighters.

    All first responders should be trained regarding the differences between reqular hazardous materials response and one involving WMD.

    What level of HazMat does your state require for first responders.
    Last edited by coldfront; 05-05-2005 at 02:27 PM.
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

    Hillbilly Irish!

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    BFDNJFF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Iraq
    Posts
    1,508

    Default

    ops and awareness

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Maverick9110E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    OakRidge,NJ
    Posts
    366

    Default

    its not a matter of what you need to be trained on. its a matter of resources. you can only train in structual gear to the awarness level. the regular gear most depatrments have are only a level D suit. also if you have designated hazmat teams in your community (we have 2) what is the need?

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Borderstate
    Posts
    900

    Lightbulb

    The need is for every first responder be trained to the operations level.This will meet basic OSHA standards.HazMat teams have there place however they are few and far between in rural sitting.This does not mean that the fire department should take any action during HazMat.That the job of special response teams and cleanup crews.

    I found this letter address the issue on the OSHA home page.

    Dear Mr. Valente:

    This is in response to your letter of May 24, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response final rule (29 CFR 1910.120).

    We will respond to your questions one at a time.

    Question 1. What is the minimum training a fire fighter can have to respond as an emergency responder to a known hazmat incident?

    Fire fighters may be trained to the first responder awareness level. This would allow them to classify a release incident as one requiring an emergency response. Alerting the proper authorities that there is hazmat incident would be all a fire fighter trained to the first responder awareness level could do.

    However, the key phrase in the above question is "to a known hazmat incident." Since the incident is already known to involve hazardous substances, the minimum level of training required for an emergency responder would be the first responder operations level.

    The standard is performance oriented, allowing different fire departments to respond to the differing needs of their communities. It may be appropriate to train the majority of fire fighters in one company to the first responder operations level while training others to higher levels, i.e., members of the hazmat team. However, fire fighters can only respond at the level to which they have been trained.

    Your second question reads as follows;

    Question 2. If a person is trained to the [operations] level what is he able to do? Not able to do?

    Emergency responders trained to the [operations] level are not necessarily able to do anything during an emergency response. Job responsibilities define training requirements; training does not define job responsibilities. Paragraph 1910.120(q)(6) states that "Training shall be based on the duties and function to be performed by each responder of an emergency response organization."

    Therefore, if an emergency responder has not been trained in a specific procedure and/or informed that they will be asked to perform that procedure during an emergency response they are not "able" to perform that task regardless of their training level.

    Although this point might seem academic it is a fundamental premise of the HAZWOPER final rule. In its simplest form, it means, if you haven't been trained in the procedure you cannot do it during an emergency response.

    In a more general approach to your question, paragraph (q)(6)(ii) defines what [operations] level personnel can and cannot do. I refer you to that paragraph of the standard and highlight the following points here.

    All of the following general abilities of [operations] level personnel are premised on the fact that those personnel have received training on how to safely perform the following operations. [Operations] level personnel are trained to take defensive action. They can work to contain the release from a safe distance, i.e. not in the danger area. They can build dikes at a safe distance from the spill. They can wear personal protective equipment. They can decontaminate other emergency responders coming out of the danger area. They are part of the initial response to the site for the purpose of protecting nearby persons, property or the environment from the effects of the release.

    [Operations] level personnel generally may not enter the danger area, take aggressive action to stop the release, or implement the employers emergency response plan.
    Last edited by coldfront; 05-05-2005 at 02:47 PM.
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

    Hillbilly Irish!

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber
    downtownlt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    82

    Default

    u can perform operations level activities
    in structural fire gear.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber
    pvfire424's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Kansas City Mo
    Posts
    667

    Default

    MIssouri requires Awareness & Opps

    Awareness will be covered this weekend Roughly 10 hours of classroom & quiz

    And Opps will cover 4 4hour classes ,and a 12 hour Saturday class.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,017

    Default

    u can perform operations level activities in structural fire gear.
    PPE selection is based on a hazard analysis. Structural fire gear is designed for protection from structural fires, not chemical exposure. I think most departments would rather throw out a contaminated $30 level "B" suit than a $1200 set of turnout gear.


    Connecticut OSHA requires employees be trained for the work they are expected to perform. Most FD's here train their fire fighters to the operational level. In addition, many departments have chosen to train fire fighters with the 40 hour EPA technician class. This is a big difference from the NFPA 472 haz-mat technician class (120 hours). The CT Fire Academy is now offering a modular haz-mat technician class, which, if I recall, is the IAFF haz-mat technician program.

    Ken
    Last edited by KenNFD1219; 05-05-2005 at 04:01 PM.
    -------------------
    "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
    -----------------------------------------------
    Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    259

    Default

    I may be wrong and I'm sure someone will correct me if I am...but...

    If you are responding to a HAZMAT call...it is actually law (not a standard...not a recommendation...not a preference) that you be trained to the Operations level. This is a defensive level. Ops level people identify the problem, isolate the scene, and make the proper notifications (HAZMAT teams, health dept, etc)...they do not make entry to stop leaks, etc...

    Awareness level would be more appropriate for a security guard or employee of a business with HAZMAT...it basically provides them with info on recognizing that a HAZMAT emergency exists and to get away and call 911.

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    Dave1983's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Gator Country
    Posts
    4,157

    Default

    Opps level here
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
    RUSH-Tom Sawyer

    Success is when skill meets opportunity
    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Waterboro, Maine
    Posts
    520

    Default

    Ops here too, recently changed from awareness.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    301

    Default

    All EMS crews required to have awareness level. FD, we have operations level and technician level. Two level "A" regional teams within 30 minutes of each other. 90% of our haz mat responses are fuel spills, accident clean ups and gas leaks (natural and propane)

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber
    firefighterbeau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Central ND USA
    Posts
    451

    Default

    Awareness, but I'm trained through Technician.

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Our department, and county for that matter, do not require firefighters to reach a specific level. Volunteers have to have their 36-hour training and that's it! Horrible, horrible, horrible. I am a tech, or was before the government incorporated the WMD into haz mat training. I will be taking the other courses to regain the higher level certs, as well as some of my other firefighters who are more concerned about the following issues.

    I have heard for years that we don't need to do anything on a haz mat scene but try to identify the placards, call in DuPont's team, and wait it out (on a good day could take an hour to get to our area). Personally, I am upset by this. Yes, there are times that we will (or do, whatever your case may be) have to sit back and let the team come in and take care of things, but what if we need to evacuate? What if we need to get a driver out of the truck? What if a car with kids inside is pinned under the truck in the hot zone? By no means am I a hothead and unclear about when to act and when not to. We just can't sit back and think that awareness is enough when there is a potential for quick action.
    Chem suits aren't cheap and in our area we wouldn't wear them hardly at all, but there's the chance that Austin Powder or any of the haz mat transporters who travel our area almost daily could cause a catastrophe and we're not able to do anything.

    Just my two cents...

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    1,719

    Default

    Originally posted by coldfront
    I found this letter address the issue on the OSHA home page.
    Can you post a link for this?
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  15. #15
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    235

    Default

    Originally posted by KenNFD1219


    PPE selection is based on a hazard analysis. Structural fire gear is designed for protection from structural fires, not chemical exposure. I think most departments would rather throw out a contaminated $30 level "B" suit than a $1200 set of turnout gear.


    Connecticut OSHA requires employees be trained for the work they are expected to perform. Most FD's here train their fire fighters to the operational level. In addition, many departments have chosen to train fire fighters with the 40 hour EPA technician class. This is a big difference from the NFPA 472 haz-mat technician class (120 hours). The CT Fire Academy is now offering a modular haz-mat technician class, which, if I recall, is the IAFF haz-mat technician program.

    Ken
    The majority of HAZMAT calls are for a release of a flammable/commbustible liquid. Nothing other than firefighting gear is appropriate. Also, look at the HAZMAT's that are found in smoke from an ordinary house fire: phosgene, hydrogen cyanide, etc.., you rely on your gear to protect you from these.

  16. #16
    dazed and confused
    Resq14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,993

    Default

    I haven't seen anything earth-shattering in the OPS curriculum, aside from setting up decontamination areas. That's the big difference between OPS and awareness that I've noticed. The additional "hours" are a lot of unnecessary repetition of awareness material.

    If you have a reliable haz-mat team, I don't see the huge need to be OPS. Awareness, sure.

    Personally, I have absolutely zero interest in dealing with any type of hazmat call involving suits and decontaminiation. I just have no desire or interest in the field. There are people that play with chemicals and conduct environmental remediation work for a living. They're the experts I want handling these situations. And they're usually available 24/7, along with regional teams, or teams from larger departments.

    I don't feel that departments with few hazmat calls (like mine) can safely play the hazmat game. I'm much more comfortable having automatic response from people who have the knowledge, skills, abilities, experience, and equipment to get the job done safely.
    Last edited by Resq14; 05-06-2005 at 09:54 AM.
    God Bless America! ē Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
    Google Is Your Friendô ē Helpful forum tip - a "must see" if you're new here
    Click this to search FH Forums!

  17. #17
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,701

    Default

    The training in NJ,

    Hazmat Awareness = they teach you that if something doesn't look normal, it might be Hazmat.

    Hazmat Operations = you see something that doesn't look normal, pull out the orange book and call a Hazmat team.

    NJ requires Hazmat Operations, but unfortunately, the training is the pits.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  18. #18
    dazed and confused
    Resq14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,993

    Default

    Awareness courses around here cover the ERG book, identification, evacuation, etc.
    God Bless America! ē Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
    Google Is Your Friendô ē Helpful forum tip - a "must see" if you're new here
    Click this to search FH Forums!

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    Berks County, PA
    Posts
    629

    Default

    Pennsylvania only requires Awareness level, and even then they don't require an actual training certificate. The Chief's say-so that his/her crew is trained at the Awareness level is all that's needed. You can figure out pretty easily what that leads to.

    Our latest township training standard now call for everyone to be brought up to the Operations level, but the plan/timetable for implementation of that initiative (and some others) is still a bit fuzzy. It'll get done, I'm sure, hopefully in a timely fashion.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Dayton, OH
    Posts
    180

    Default

    Here in Ohio we are trained at the Awareness level in FF1 class and Operations if you go on to FF2 class. Most area Departments require Operations no matter what FF cert you recieve.

    Is there a huge difference between the two levels? Nope. Is there a huge difference between Ops and Tech levels? Yep.

    I'm an instructor, I teach at least 2 recruit (FF1) schools a year. I'd love to be able to give them an Ops card, but I don't have the time. Here in Ohio, FF1 (basic level of fire training) takes 132 hours. The FF2 class is an additional 120 hours. In that basic class, I simply don't have the time to add anything else other than awareness. What should I get rid of? I have told the area Chiefs that in 132 hours I can teach the book, or I can teach the hands on. The class needs to be a lot longer to teach them the book and the job and have them be proficient.

    A few months ago I took the training to teach the new HM/WMD certification classes. They build upon the old HM levels but now will require even a bit more time. All of my new students, starting with my current class, will recieve a HM/WMD awareness cert. It begins to teach the to use their heads and spends alot of time on using the book. Its not perfect, but I'm happy. I just want to keep my kids safe.

    I think, that everyone in a perfect world fire department should be a tech. But I know that isn't going to happen.

    Cheers,
    Scott

  21. #21
    MembersZone Subscriber
    sdff1520's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    322

    Default

    Mostly haz-mat awareness here in rural area. I don't recall ever responding to a haz-mat incident or even hearing about our department doing it in past history (other than a bit of leaking fuel from a vehicle accident). Does that mean it won't ever happen? Certainly not! Problem with haz-mat training is it's very hard for everybody to see the value in dedicating the time and $ for haz-mat training when the frequency of incident is low or non-existent. Becomes a kind of cost/benefit risk analysis deal. We have a limited amount of hours available for training, and must use that time wisely and we choose to train for things that have a bit higher odds of happening? Would I prefer everyone to be operations level, yep...but just not realistic for us. We can only ask our firefighters to take so much time away from personal lives for department training. Vehicle Extrication, Structural Fire, Wildland Fire, Confined Space, RIT, refresher training on how to operate the massive quantity of equipment we have (saws, pumps, TI, CGI, SCBA, communications, the list goes on). It's difficult to keep evereyone proficient on the above topics and equipment...currently there just isn't room or time for haz-mat ops.

  22. #22
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,676

    Default

    No requirement for haz-mat training in Louisiana. Outside of the larger cities, which may haver thier own haz-mat teams, haz-mat is thre responsibility of the State Police. Each barracks has "haz-mat troopers" who respond with contract teams to handle it. Often the fire department is not even called unless threat of fire, or there is a fire.
    Our department does not do any "formal certification" haz-mat training, however we do train extensivly on flammable liquid fires (at some wonderful facilities in TX) as we have a meduim sized refinary in our district as well as natural gas incidents, as we have 2 large pipelines running through our area. We have plugs that we use on leaking gas tanks and small natural gas lines ... that's the extent of our haz-mat equipment.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 05-06-2005 at 12:44 PM.

  23. #23
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    OHIO
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Here in Ohio we are trained at the Awareness level in FF1 class and Operations if you go on to FF2 class. Most area Departments require Operations no matter what FF cert you recieve.
    Scott you say your an instructor so you may know.
    Ohio isnít an OSHA state is it?
    So after you get your FFI and or FFII thatís it unless your department makes you keep it up or get more training you donít have to be even Awareness level.
    Help me with this one too Scott, in Ohio after you get your FFI or FFII thatís it you donít have to do any more training ever for life and you will still be a FFI or FFII. The state requires no minimum training per year after your FFI or FFII do they. Maybe Ohio isnít the only state that doesnít require any more training but to me it they all should. I know most of you are saying that all departments have training but your wrong! Theirs more departments out their than you think that do NO training. Some say it cost too much, some say they donít need it and Iv even heard that some say it will cost too much if someone gets hurt training (workers comp. manpower).
    Most again Most departments out their do a great job of continuing training but it would be better if the states or fed's set some minimum standards on amounts of continuing training a fire fighter must have each year.
    Thanks I'm done now
    FireMurph

  24. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber
    jaybird210's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    911 N. Sycamore St. Yep, that's really our address.
    Posts
    2,604

    Default

    Ohio isn't an OSHA state is it?
    We see this a lot.

    It doesn't matter if your state is "an OSHA State" or not. If your state is one of these so-called "Non-OSHA States" it is because they have their own state agency responsible for enforcing OSHA regulations. By federal law, no state may disregard or create labor safety standards that are less stringent than OSHA rules.

    In Illinois we have the Illinois Department of Labor. They adopt OSHA regs verbatim. Any changes ever made are to make the regulation MORE stringent. This is the law.

    Pretty much all it does is create another state agency to do what the federal OSHA could be doing. It does not relieve any of us of the legal, moral, or ethical obligation to provide a "safe" work environment. Or in our case, as safe as possible or practical.
    Omnis Cedo Domus

    www.hinckleyfd.org

  25. #25
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    259

    Default

    More on the OSHA, non-OSHA issue...

    Texas, for example, is a non-OSHA state, but we are bound by the OSHA regs related to HAZMAT because the EPA (which is over every state) adopted the OSHA regs as their own. So every state in the USofA is bound by these laws.

    They require:
    Incident command to be used at every HAZMAT incident.

    A safety officer to be in place (this job actually can be done by the IC also).

    Anyone who RESPONDS to a KNOWN HAZMAT incident to be trained to the operations level...does this mean that if you're a firefighter you must be trained to ops level? No...it just means that you shouldn't be responding to a HAZMAT call...it's basically a service that your department can't provide (legally, anyway).

    There are many other requirements related to documentation and legal stuff. Too many to list. The NFA Hazardous Materials Incident Mgmt class covers all this legalese in detail.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register