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What foundation do you need for a HazMat Team? (If you were starting from scratch)

How many team members do you need on a Basic HazMat Scene?

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Different parts of the country define “basic” a bit different than others. Below I will outline what we have developed for our statewide HazMat/WMD response

CAT – Chemical Assessment Team: Consists of three HazMat Technicians primary duty is to assist local response; assess the incident, determine life safety issues, stabilize the incident if possible, and determine resources required i.e. full Emergency Response Team, Highway, Rail, Rad or other specialists, equipment needs etc. The idea behind this concept was to provide statewide coverage within an hour.

Emergency Response Team – Consists of a minimum of 6 technicians. . The basic Level of training for each team member consists of ;100 hour tech course and a passing score on the IFSAC examination. Since the start of the program we have been working to increase the training level to also provide 1 each: Highway, Rail, Radiological, and Monitoring Specialists. We also have provided the following training to each response team; 40 hour air monitoring course, Public Safety Sampling Course, Foreign Animal Disease (our state most likely has a higher population of beef than humans) and terrorism response classes.
Basic Team Staff Functions:
1. Team Leader
2. HazMat Safety Officer
3. Science or Research
4. Entry/Recon
5. Decontamination Officer
6. Medical Officer.

Six individuals are really not enough to handle a basic incident but our role is to assist the local responders with the understanding they will be able to provide assistance. However, I have discovered in the past 8 years that that may not happen. We have 12 teams within the state and we can dispatch as many as needed to handle the incident.

My recommendation for staffing a basic HazMat team is:
• Team Leader- One person: Advanced level of experience and training in HazMat and Incident Management.
• Science or Research- a minimum of two, large incidents should be 3 to 4
• Entry/ Recon- Minimum of 4 depending on the incident i.e. number of entries, equipment needed, etc. entry staffing needs can swell rapidly. To help limit the amount of tech level training and refresher training needed, you may wish to train operation level personnel on Level A PPE for the 2 in 2 out. This is accepted under OSHA as well as NFPA. However these individuals can only perform a rescue of a technician down within the hot-zone.
• Decon: one to two, this is really an operations level task that should be supervised by a tech. If you can use personnel from an engine company it sure can save your department some money on tech level training requirements.
• HazMat Safety- One person, a technician that has safety officer training. I feel this is a must have and an addition to the Incident Safety Officer.
• Medical Officer- One person with at least EMT I. This is my opinion, Should have within a locked box every team members medical records. In an event that a team member becomes exposed or goes down he can send the record with the tech to the hospital. Should also be responsible for medical monitoring of all team members. This person should have direct communications with area hospitals and be versed on hospital procedures and protocols. Some advanced toxicological training for this person is a must.

Again this is my opinion based on my experience.
Excellent! I have found that 28 people are needed at the min. Good job brother Feel free to look at my site called Todd


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