1. #1
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    cjnfiremn's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Eunice, Louisiana

    Exclamation Haz-Mat Team setup

    I have been put in charge of setting up a haz-mat team in my department. Can anyone give me a starting point. What supplies to buy first? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    MEck51's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    South Jersey


    That is a HUGE chunk to tear off. Good luck.

    What are your goals? Decon, entry, cleanup? The first thing I would do is establish what it is that you plan on doing. Next figure out what training is going to be needed. What equipment you will need. Prepare a budget for the bosses and when you pick them up off the floor see if they realy want to pursue this. Haz-Mat is big money, you can get alot thru grants but most money is going to go to regional teams. I will tell you decon will cost you but once you start with entry you are realy talking about big money. You will need everything from suits, resources (books/computer), containment kits, patch kits, breathing systems, monitoring devices and transportation for all of the above.

    I would recruit as much help as you can and get a game plan going, then come back and see what info you can get from the forums. Also as always check with local teams to see what they have going on and what they may be able to offer.

  3. #3
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    mdcook's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Finger Lakes Region, NY

    Post Starting a Haz Mat team

    cjnfiremn, MEck51 made some very good points. Having been on the formation committee for the level A haz mat team for our county, I can tell you it is a long process. You are looking at least two years of planning, preparing and training before you should think about being able to deploy. Please make sure you have ALL of the paperwork completed and double checked before you even start training.
    You will need:
    SOG's; mutual aid guidelines; possibly local laws passed in your parish to allow you to bill the spiller; a medical director for at least your team physicals; and lots of training and practice.
    One upside for you is that I have heard LSU has good training programs.
    I would suggest you start with getting every one in your F.D. trained to the Operations level and see if that helps generate some interest in some of your people to go farther. Get a small committee started and be aware that it is going to be a long process. Maybe talk to some one in LaFayette or Baton Rouge or who ever handles your haz mat now.
    Looking at my map, are you inside the area that is/will be/should be getting Federal aid? Definately take advantage of every Haz Mat/WMD grant that you can. Just be advised that some have limitations on what you can buy and some require evaluations of your progress.
    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by cjnfiremn
    I have been put in charge of setting up a haz-mat team in my department. Can anyone give me a starting point. What supplies to buy first? Thanks.
    Start by looking at a regional team or one out of a bigger city to see what they have, then look at the area you would be responsible for covering, look at the hazards and what you may have to deal with. I would begin by not buying anyhting until you have a team selected. Then, train to tech level, then begin buying equipment for what you need, not just because it's cool or nifty. Pay attention to the fact you will need decon, and other things, not just entry equipment. The other thing you can do is find a local hazmat clean up company, and figure out what they have.


    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

  5. #5
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    fieryred943's Avatar
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    Dec 2000
    somewhere between sanity and insanity


    Haz Mat is a huge undertaking both in equipment and man power..... everyone makes good points to get you started.

    Basic stuff that you should look at do you have the man power to put together a complete team or will you need additional resources/mutial aide? You can't just throw a handful of guys together and expect an incident to run smooth. Training training training....practice practice practice is another key. The ability for the personnel to use the equipment they are given with confidence is a must. You don't want to put a f/f in a Level A suit and give them a detector that they have only touched once.

    Before you even purchase a piece of equipment, research what hazards you have within the area or possible threw traffic(ie. trucks/rail) If you have chemical facilities in the area, do they have response teams of their own? Try to arrange a meeting or training time with their facility to gain knowledge and understand their procedures.

    Definately canvass other Fire Departments about how their teams are set up, SOG's (Phoenix Website has a good Hazmat section I believe). A library of material you will need to help you select the best way to deal with the situation. Canutech/Chemtrec are good resources, a computer program that we currently use is PEAC fantastic program full of chemicals and other information.

    Budgets are a big issues as it was said before.... Hazmat is an expensive area to get into. Look for municipal funding/county funding/state funding any type of funding you can get your hands on. If there is an enviromental cleanup company... see if you can partner with them for funding.

    When it comes to suits.... have to look at the chemicals you are dealing with. Always have to have some in reserve and in the case of Level A fully encapsulating suits they have to be pressure tested....another expense. Then you are looking at boots/gloves/eye protection/radios/breathing apparatus. And we haven't even got to detectors and decon.

    Detectors can range from the 4 gas ITX to the PID for volitile organic vapours to radiation detector, standard co detector, ph strips, and so on and so on. Then you have to look at the maintenance of those detectors and let me tell you the sensors in the detectors aren't cheap. We blew 3 sensors in the ITX in less than a year and it had to be at least a $2000 bill. Then if you want to do your own calibrating... there is the docking station to do bump testing/calibration and downloads of your incidents.

    Decon can range from a couple of ducky pools and spray wands to a full blown trailer with showers....

    Oh yes and the trailers to store all this equipment and the vehicles to tow these units.... everything that has to be kept in mind. If you are wanting to start a team this is some of what you should be looking at. Start small....baby steps as a fully functional Hazmat Program takes years to put together to the point of being capable to handle everything. And even everything just doesn't cover it all.

    This is just my two cents as I have seen my Hazmat program grow in the past 6 years. We have gone from the bare bones to now what I think is a program that is comparable to some of the bigger facilities. We don't know it all and nor do we have it all but we go in there an do the job the best we can.

    From one Glow worm to another.... stay safe

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