Leadership

HAZ-MAT RECIPES FOR DISASTER

Issue 3 and Volume 156.

BY STEVEN M. DE LISI Following a recent hazardous-materials incident, a firefighter in one of the first-arriving engine companies commented that he found this call, like many others involving haz mats to which he had responded, long and boring—a lot of “hurry up and wait.” He explained that you wait for the haz-mat team to arrive, then wait for the haz-mat team to conduct research to figure out what to do, then wait for the entry team to get dressed and carry out the mission, then wait for a cleanup contractor to arrive. Although this easily could have been mistaken for a negative comment, he was actually paying himself and his crew a great compliment, for the extent of just how boring, or exciting, a haz-mat incident becomes depends largely on the actions of first-arriving firefighters on the scene. Remember that although some haz-mat incidents are catastrophic events from the…

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