For the past six weeks, 24 Monroe County Fire Rescue personnel participated in a 160-hour Hazardous Materials Technician Course at Joe London Fire Academy on Grassy Key in order to meet state minimum standards required for those who respond to hazardous materials incidents. The curriculum included chemistry, air sampling, collecting and analyzing unknown materials, radioactive materials, and technical knowledge of the equipment necessary to mitigate chemical-related emergencies.
This course varying complexities of hazardous situations; from small spills like vehicle fluids, paint products, or household cleaners, to large releases of industrial chemicals that pose a major hazard to life, environment, and property. The firefighters also trained in response to unknown materials and intentional acts of using hazardous materials toward the general public.
“This type of training will help reduce the number of future accidents, injuries, and illnesses associated with hazardous materials,” said Monroe County Lt. Jorge Machado. “The hands-on training allows first responders to identify and prevent exposure while expanding their abilities to tie in the real-life simulation in hazardous incidents.”
The training was conducted by Intercontinental Fire Training Academy, which is one of three schools in Florida qualified to teach this curriculum. The instructors came with more than 80 years of experience in the hazardous materials field.