Monday, November 19, 2001

Who gets hazmat training?

        Cincinnati State trains more than 900 people a year in its Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response program.

        That includes 40-hour courses for incident commanders, 24-hour courses for hazmat technicians and eight-hour refresher courses for working professionals. Several private companies also offer training.

        Among those who seek the training:

        • Emergency hazmat responders: The Greater Cincinnati Hazardous Materials Team covers chemical and biological incidents in Hamilton County and parts of Butler, Warren, Clermont, Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Dearborn counties. Several counties and many individual fire departments, including Cincinnati, also have their own hazmat teams.

        Industrial safety teams: Various companies handle large amounts of toxic chemicals. The Metropolitan Sewer District, for instance, uses liquefied chlorine gas to treat sewage. Procter & Gamble uses sulfur trioxide to make laundry detergent.

        Big companies usually employ safety teams, which can handle small spills, but smaller companies generally depend on the local fire department. Once a spill leaves company grounds or is bigger than regulators say is safe to handle, local fire and hazmat crews are called.

        Environmental workers: Employees of companies that do environmental testing, toxic waste cleanup and the transportation and storing of hazardous waste find hazmat training useful.

        Medical crews: Especially since Sept. 11, hospitals are sending more workers to hazmat training to improve staff and facilities protection and to work with patients who have been exposed to toxins.

        Law enforcement and public health investigators: From anthrax scares to clandestine meth labs, police and health experts find themselves working in hot zones to collect evidence and investigate outbreaks.


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