Hazardous Materials Incident Response Essay

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Hazardous materials can be important in everyday life when properly handled. However, when improperly handled, they can result in injury, death, and destruction as well as have lingering effects that may last for years to come. To address the risk of an uncontrolled hazardous materials release, there must be a coordinated effort to identify, locate, and quantify the hazardous materials in a particular location (Drexel University Safety & Health, 2001). Typically, industry and government agree that a hazardous materials incident is one where

• The intentional or accidental release of a hazardous material is responsible for major injury or fatality
• The release of the hazardous material or exposure to the fire that ensues results in
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Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and regulations promulgated under that Act
• Department of Homeland Security (Drexel University Safety & Health, 2001)

Hazardous materials releases can occur in any location and time. The potential of a release is dependent on the volume, distribution, and use of the hazardous substances within a particular area. Hazard identification, planning, and response preparedness is an ongoing process and must be addressed through a cooperative partnership between the public and private sectors (Washoe County LEPC, 2006).

The NIMS model of incident Command Systems (ICS) will be used as the framework for all responses to hazardous material releases. This will allow flexibility to rapidly activate and establish an organizational structure around the functions that need to be performed to efficiently mitigate an incident (Washoe County LEPC, 2006).
In addition, clearly defined roles and responsibilities will be established for each collaborating partner involved with hazardous materials releases. For example, these roles and responsibilities may include

• Fire Service o Participating in local planning with collaborating partners o Complying with all Federal, state, and local training requirements regarding hazardous materials o Requesting the Hazardous Materials Team as appropriate o Initiating actions to
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