Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

Is a firefighter that is trained to the HazMat Operations level, allowed to go into the "HOT ZONE" to perform a victim rescue? 

This  was a hot topic that was discussed at a meeting, I am interested in  hearing  what you have to say.

Let the great debate begin!!!!!!!

Views: 688

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I say, "Maybe", as always, constant size up and victim surivability profile is performed, The operations level training covers the meters and papers that give the information allowing the rescuers to proceede or retreat.


An ops level member who is competent in meters, and understanding and interpreting data and events should be expected to enter a hot zone to perform rescue, even in structural gear so long as the there is no extreme acid/base gas in the air (use some pH paper), LEL is monitored (and action levels understood), as well as F and KI papers where applicable. The meter of choice should be a 5 gas and as always, all PPE should be worn.


Memebers should be trained to package without getting dirty, and trained to properly doff PPE should they become contaminated. Emergency decon should be implemented as well.


There are a lot of moving parts to this individual, so I think the answer is yes, but is it for everyone? Probably not.


Also, the availability of the equipment I mentioned, if it isn't there, then the moves of the rescuers are extremely limited.



I think in this day and age of HazMat that there needs to be a more effort on product I.D. and our reality of making a Save before we say "Go or No Go". Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Radioactive, and WMD (Bomb) can all be classified as a HazMat. We can all create a "Doomsday" tabletop scenario to give our crews. Hollywood has made big money doing just that with the impending 2012 disaster that we are all supposed to be ready for....As a company officer my first thoughts upon arriving on scene are my crews safety--ALWAYS, then the citizens. Sorry taxpayers. If the rescuers need rescuing then I'm not putting my people in harms way.

Our department put this very question to a scenario where a chlorine tanker rolled and had a 1 inch vapor leak with a driver lying on the ground. Half the crews did not enter to perform a Save and the other half did. So who was right?

I put this next question to you the firefighter.

Don't we run into a HazMat every time we fight a fire? We are in "Rescue mode" while the structural elements are being compromised all around us. We don breathing apparatus to make sure our airway is not compromised. We wear protective gear to reduce the effects of heat and falling debris on our bodies. We don't carrry air monitors, ph paper, or sample tubes while dragging in a 1.5" hoseline.

Thanks for the simple question. Hopefully I didn't give a complicated answer.

Absolutely we send Firefighters into burning structures every day because we give them the correct PPE and  training in tactics & strategy to operate safely. We all need to realize the modern fie is a HAZ MAT incident! When was the last time we set up chairs and sat around waiting for a special team before going to work when we arrive at a fire?  I don't mean to over simplify however as long as we give operations level FF's the tools and training they need we can perform rescues on many of the most common chemicals we encounter.

These are  all  great replies!

Can you believe that it is against the law to enter the "HOT" zone!  We can actually be fined over it! I have the ruling interpretation, I will try to post it here.

Thanks for the input!   Join the group called "HAZMAT PLACARDS TO SUCCESS"

Reply to Discussion


Policy Page


The login above DOES NOT provide access to Fire Engineering magazine archives. Please go here for our archives.


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our community policy page.  

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2024   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service