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Nine Garland firefighters recently completed a hazardous materials technician certification class to learn how to mitigate dynamic incidents that could involve dangerous chemicals.
A hazardous material is defined as one that may be extremely flammable, explosive and/or dangerous to the health of many people. A hazmat technician must be able to identify which chemicals are involved, determine the scope of the problem, predict the behavior of released materials and plan a response.
The course covered how to recognize the materials by the size and shape of their containers as well as by using any identifying markers. Certified technicians wear special protective suits that allow them to approach a dangerous chemical so they can collect and interpret the hazard. They also need to recognize the dangers associated with any damage to the chemical’s containers. After an incident is mitigated, technicians go through a thorough decontamination process before they doff their equipment.
The Garland Fire Department will send more staff through the hazmat technician course next year and hopes to run an official hazmat team in the future.