Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 9:07 am
By Eric G. Bachman
Training on recognizing and identifying hazardous materials is, or at least should be, a fundamental part of every firefighter’s knowledge base. Regardless of the tiered training level attained, the use of focused and nonfocused resources is consistent. One of the most elementary of hazardous materials identification skills and competencies is use of the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG). As we approach distribution of the 2012 edition of the ERG, this is a good time to remind personnel of interpreting and understanding placards.
Annual hazardous material refresher training is required in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 1910.120, Hazardous waste operations and emergency response. To comply with this standard, some firefighters complete boiler-plate programs while others participate in internal company-level training sessions. In both cases, firefighters typically perform research exercises using the ERG to identify products and response guidance based on placard information. This annual repetition gives firefighters confidence in using the ERG. Beyond this basic training, it is necessary to review some of the other intricacies and identification influences pertaining to hazard classifications and placards.
In accordance with 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 172, Hazardous Materials Table, Special Provisions, Hazardous Materials Communications, Emergency Response Information, Training Requirements, And Security Plans, there are nine hazard classes. Reciting them from memory, however, is not as important as readily recognizing them at an incident. There are many mnemonics used to recollect the hazard classes (like Every Good Lieutenant’s First StandardOperating Procedure Really Can Matter) Regardless of whether the mnemonic helps, review of the hazard classes is important. Class 1 represents Explosives. This category is has six subdivisions to distinguish detonation characteristics. The lower the subdivision class number, the higher its danger–for example, explosives division 1.1 is characterized with a mass-explosion hazard. Conversely, explosives division 1.6 indicates an extremely insensitive article.
Read the full article on FireEngineering.com.