The term ‘major incident’ is a broad one and is widely ascribed to any event where there is a loss of life, a serious injury or substantial damage to property or the environment.
While carbon dioxide (CO2) incidents are relatively uncommon, especially compared to their carbon monoxide counterparts, they can prove lethal in the wrong circumstances.
When planning a radiation hazard training scenario, instructors have traditionally opted for real sources in order to enable students practice with the instruments they will actually use. While this is certainly effective for training, it does pose significant disadvantages. Cost, regulatory requirements, procurement, end of life disposal , and time constraints will all need to be considered when organising training utilising real sources.
If you’re a first responder, you have probably undergone training with index cards at some point in your career. This tried-and-tested method helps trainers provide information to downrange operators that should initiate a response or action from those operators.
The New York City Fire Department‘s dedicated HazMat unit, HazMat Company 1, is responsible for attending a vast array of major emergencies, hazardous materials incidents and terrorism-related disasters citywide.
Supporting the team in their efforts is a select group of FDNY EMS units known as Hazardous Material Tactical Units, whose members are trained to provide emergency medical care and decontamination within hazardous environments.
Realistic hands-on training is perhaps one of the most proactive steps that can ensure emergency response personnel are equipped to counter the challenges of hazardous materials and CBRN incidents.
The events of the past twelve months however have been quite unlike anything ever experienced before, with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic placing unprecedented pressure on training budgets and on the way in which programs of instruction are delivered.
When the pressure is on to make quick decisions in emergency response situations, the value of practical personal experience is something that can never be underestimated.
But while the "human factor" remains an inestimable force, it is also essential that first responders have access to the appropriate technological support to enable them to work safely and effectively in the field.
Specialist HazMat training exercises can provide vital learning opportunities for first responders by enabling them to put into practice the knowledge and skills they will rely on when tackling hazardous materials incidents.
When there is the chance to conduct these HazMat training scenarios in a real-life setting, instructors can also offer trainees the added advantage of being able to experience what would normally be a "staged" exercise in as realistic a context as possible.