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Hazardous Materials:
(Fire Fighter I)
Fire Fighter I Objectives

• Define a hazardous material and hazardous

• List the common locations that may contain
hazardous materials.
• Distinguish between a regulation and a
Fire Fighter I Objectives

• Describe which regulations and standards

govern how fire departments respond to
hazardous materials incidents.
• Describe the roles and responsibilities of
awareness-level, operations-level, technician-
level, and specialist-level personnel.
Fire Fighter I Objectives

• Describe the roles and responsibilities of a

hazardous materials and hazardous materials
safety officers.
• Describe the roles and responsibilities of
hazardous material technicians with specialties.
• List the laws that govern hazardous material
response activities.
Fire Fighter I Objectives

• Explain the differences between hazardous

materials incidents and other emergencies.
• Explain the need for a planned response to a
hazardous materials incident.
Hazardous Materials Overview

• Fire fighters may be called to incidents

involving chemical spills, emergencies at
industrial plants, or railroad or truck crashes.
• These incidents threaten lives, property, and
the environment.
What Is a Hazardous Material?

• A material that poses

an unreasonable risk
to the health and
safety of people and
the environment if it
is not properly
What Is a Hazardous Material?

• A hazardous material can be almost anything.

• Hazardous materials can be found anywhere.
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What Is a Hazardous Material?

• More than 80,000 chemicals are registered for

use in commerce in the United States.
• An estimated 2000 new chemicals are
introduced annually.
Hazardous Waste

• The material that remains after a process has

used some of the material and it is no longer
– Can be just as dangerous as pure chemicals
– Can be mixtures of several chemicals, resulting in a
hybrid substance

• Regulations are issued and enforced by

governmental bodies such as:
– Occupational Safety and Health Administration
– Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

• Issued by nongovernmental entities and are

generally consensus based
• National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
issues consensus-based standards.
– NFPA 472
– NFPA 473
Levels of Training

• The NFPA levels are awareness, operations,

technician, technician with specialty, and
incident commander (IC).
• OSHA has issued the Hazardous Waste
Operations and Emergency Response
(HAZWOPER) regulations.
Levels of Training

• HAZWOPER identifies five levels of training:

– Awareness
– Operations
– Technician
– Technician with specialty
– Incident commander
Awareness Level

• Awareness-level responders can:

– Recognize a potential hazardous materials incident.
– Protect themselves.
– Most likely to witness or discover hazardous
• Awareness-level responders take emergency
response sequence.
Operations Level

• Responders can:
– Recognize a potential
– Meet competencies at
awareness level and
core competencies of
operations level
• Act in a defensive
Technician Level

• Enter heavily
contaminated areas
using the highest
levels of protection.
• Hazardous materials
technicians take
offensive actions.
Courtesy of Staff Sgt. Brandie Session/U.S. Air Force
Specialist Level

• Fire fighters at this level receive more

specialized training than a hazardous materials
– The technician and specialist levels are not very
– Most training relates to a specific product or mode of
Hazardous Materials Branch
Director/Group Supervisor

• Assume command of a hazardous materials

incident beyond the operations level
– Trained to act as branch director or group supervisor
for hazardous materials component of the incident
Incident Commander

• Develops strategies, tactics, and acquisition of

resources needed for response
Hazardous Materials Safety Officer

• Assigned to hazardous materials branch

• Ensures safety of hazardous materials
personnel and recognizes appropriate
hazardous materials/weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) practices are followed
Hazardous Materials Technician
With Specialties

• Is hazardous materials technician with training

in specialized areas listed in NFPA 472
• Three levels: A, B, C, describe capabilities in
regard to response on or off site
Government Agencies

• Department of Transportation regulates the

transportation of goods by highways, rail, air,
and, in some cases, marine transport.
• EPA regulates environmental aspects of
hazardous materials.
• OSHA also issues guidance on a multitude of
other topics regarding worker safety.

• Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization

Act (SARA)
– Original driver for HAZWOPER regulations
– Laid the foundation that allowed fire departments
and the community to obtain information about
hazardous materials in the community

• Emergency Planning and Community Right to

Know Act (EPCRA)
– EPCRA requires a business that handles chemicals
to report storage type, quantity, and storage
methods to the fire department and the local
emergency planning committee.
– Documentation called tier reports
Local Emergency Planning
Committees (LEPCs)

• Gather and disseminate information about

hazardous materials
• Composed of members of industry,
transportation, media, fire and police agencies,
and the public at large
• LEPCs collect material safety data sheets.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

• Profile of a chemical or
mixture of chemicals
• Provided by the
manufacturer and/or
supplier of a chemical
• Chemical’s properties
and all pertinent
information about it
State Emergency Response
Commission (SERC)

• Each state has a SERC.

• The SERC is a liaison between local and state
levels of authority.
Hazardous Materials Incidents Are

• Fire fighters cannot approach a hazardous

materials incident with the same mindset used
for a structure fire.
• Suppressing a fire is usually more
straightforward than handling a hazardous
materials incident.
Hazardous Materials Incidents Are

• At a hazardous materials incident, actions

taken are largely dictated by the chemicals
– Response objectives, the choice of personal
protective equipment (PPE), and the type of
decontamination depend on the chemical properties
of the hazardous material.
Planning a Response

• The response begins before the alarm.

• Agencies should conduct incident-planning
activities at target hazards and other potential
problem areas.
– Focus on the real threats that exist in the
– Once threats are identified, agencies must
determine how they will respond.
Planning a Response

• Established
parameters guide
response to
– These parameters are
based on the nature
of the chemical, the
amount released, and
the type of occupancy

• Hazardous materials pose an unreasonable

risk to the health and safety of operating
emergency personnel, the public, and/or the
environment if not properly controlled.
• Fire fighters should be able to recognize the
presence of hazardous materials.

• Recognizing potential hazardous material is

critical to your own safety.
• Be alert to the possibility of hazardous
• Fire fighters must be able to identify and isolate
the released material at a hazardous materials

• Hazardous materials can be found anywhere.

• Regulations are issued and enforced by
governmental bodies.
• Standards are issued by nongovernmental

• Training or competencies levels of proficiencies

are found in HAZWOPER.
• A person able to recognize, identify, and notify
agencies of the presence of hazardous
materials is operating at the awareness level.
• Operations-level responders respond to
hazardous materials and WMD incidents.

• Technician-level personnel enter heavily

contaminated areas using PPE.
• Specialist-level personnel have additional
training related to specific chemicals, container
types, or transportation modes.
• Hazardous materials officers assume
command of hazardous materials incidents.

• Hazardous materials safety officers ensure the

safety of hazardous materials personnel and
the use of appropriate hazardous materials and
WMD practices.
• LEPCs gather and disseminate to the public
information about hazardous materials.

• Hazardous materials incidents cannot be

approached in the same manner as a structural
• Actions taken at hazardous materials incidents
are dictated by the chemicals involved and
available resources.
• A hazardous materials response begins with
preincident planning.