Fire Prevention & Protection, Hazmat

Hazmat Response and the Fire Codes

Issue 11 and Volume 173.

BY JOSEPH CHACON When responding to hazardous materials (hazmats) incidents, responders must be familiar with the fire code requirements for hazmat use and storage. A hazardous material is generally defined as a product or substance that poses a significant risk to health, safety, or property either by itself or with interaction with other factors. These products or substances are present on every fire call and most emergency medical services (EMS) calls. Responders must recognize that hazmats may be present even when the call for service is not specifically for hazmats. NFPA 704 Marking System Most responders are familiar with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 704, Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response, marking system and the associated ratings (Figure 1). Any responder will tell you “0 = not a significant hazard” and “4 = significant hazard.” I will focus on the NFPA 704 ratings…

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