Leadership

The Process of Making Decisions At Hazardous Materials Incidents

Issue 8 and Volume 135.

The Process of Making Decisions At Hazardous Materials Incidents features What happens when an alarm is received for an incident which involves the release or potential release of hazardous chemicals? Does the first-alarm incident commander decide to take the long way to the scene? Does he immediately submit a leave request so that he is relieved of potential decision-making responsibility? Well, these might seem like farfetched ideas, but really, how prepared is the first-arriving commander for handling an incident involving hazardous chemicals? One of the basic problems is that the decision-making responsibility at a hazardous material incident is very different from handling a structural fire. While the basic goals of protection of life and preservation of property remain the same, the actual decision-making process is completely different. The first-arriving commanding officer is experienced in handling structural fires because they occur frequently enough. But what about the hazardous material incident? The…

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