City personnel from several departments and fire recruits received instruction on hazmat operations Monday morning at Fire Station 5.
Edmond Fire Department Driver Jason Egelston, a 13-year veteran, said the instruction regarded several practical scenarios involving different vapors coming off a container or a pipe into the air. They also were practicing vapor dispersion and suppression, Egelston said.
Dispersion involves pushing vapors downwind to free up the area so personnel can shut off a remote valve, for example, Egelston said. Suppression is moving the vapor from the air to the ground, he said. Operation considerations include runoff and the Oklahoma wind, which means approaching the source upwind.
This is a six-day, 40-hour hazmat operations course, which all new fire recruits must complete, Egelston said. Certification comes through Oklahoma State University’s fire service training, and involves passing a practical test and a written test, Egelston said. Several recruits already have certification from their previous experience, he said.
“We’re teaching them defensive measures they can use to either mitigate a spill, to help a source from leaking worse, how to set up a dam or some type of containment,” Egelston said.
In addition to the fire recruits, workers with the city’s water and street departments were taking the course.
Egelston said hazmat operations are very methodical and include different components such as a scene commander, an entry team, a back up team, team leaders helping personnel suit up, a science officer researching the product involved, a safety officer and a decontamination officer and team. Hazmat operations can expand personnel-wise rapidly, and having city departments cross-train means personnel would be ready to assist the Fire Department, Egelston said.
Later teaching likely will include a hazmat technician class, Egelston said.
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