Leadership

DETERMINING HOT ZONE BOUNDARIES

Issue 11 and Volume 156.

BY CHRISTOPHER BRENNAN A contentious aspect of hazardous materials response is determining hot zone boundaries. In setting up a hot zone, the incident commander (IC) chooses the size of the area from which to exclude people until the hazard is mitigated. This may require that roads be shut down, resulting in traffic delays, or may cause a company to stop operations. An IC can have a great impact on the community based on the size of the hot zone he establishes and what he does to control that zone. The Illinois Fire Service Institute teaches the steps Isolate, Identify, Notify, Mitigate, and Terminate as broad categories of what must be accomplished at a haz-mat incident. Setting hot zone boundaries is a part of “Isolation.” An incident commander must consider many factors when determining the boundaries of the hot zone. This method of establishing a hot zone is geared toward responders…

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