Enhancing Idaho’s Hazmat Response: Highlights from Hazmat Week 2024

The Idaho Office of Emergency Management’s (IOEM) Hazmat Week 2024 brought together hazardous materials professionals from across the state to enhance their preparedness and capabilities. This intensive five-day training event provided a platform for Regional Response Teams (RRTs) and Idaho State Police (ISP) Hazmat Specialists to improve their knowledge and skill set for responding to hazardous material incidents statewide. Hazmat Week also serves as a cornerstone in keeping Idaho hazmat response teams aware of evolving dangers and challenges they may encounter in the field.

This year, participants hailed from RRT3, RRT4, RRT6, RRT7, and ISP. RRTs are a state-level resource that is made up of members from fire departments across the state. RRT3 has members from Caldwell Fire, Nampa Fire, Emmett Fire, and Weiser Fire; RRT4 is made up of members from Boise Fire; RRT6 is made up of members from Pocatello Fire, and RRT7 is made up of members from Idaho Falls Fire. The ISP Hazmat Team is made up of five ISP officers from around the state.

By bringing together members of RRTs and ISP Hazmat Specialists, the event strengthens collaboration, and share knowledge and best practices.

Throughout the week, attendees engaged in a series of engaging training sessions tailored to address emerging threats and enhance response capabilities. Trainings were held at the Idaho Response Center, Fire Training Center in Boise, and Boise Fire Station 17. Some of the key classes included:

  • TEPP Rad Training (Radiation Identification/Safety Levels): Participants gained a comprehensive understanding of radiation types, associated hazards, and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Hands-on exercises with detection equipment provided practical experience crucial for accurate radiation monitoring and assessment.
  • Battery Operation for Technicians (Lithium-Ion Battery Dangers): An interactive course, this class provided invaluable insights into the hazards posed by lithium-ion batteries. Attendees learned about fire suppression limitations and explored available tools while sharing real-life encounters with these increasingly prevalent hazards.
  • Tactical Chemistry: Attendees honed their skills in identifying hazardous substances using a variety of tests and specialized equipment. This practical training enhances responders’ ability to identify substances quickly and accurately in both liquid and solid states.

Hazmat Week served as an opportunity to foster collaboration and network among different response teams statewide. Through shared experiences and collaborative discussions, participants identified common challenges and explored innovative solutions to improve response capabilities collectively.

By investing in training and creating opportunities for collaboration, IOEM ensures that responders are well-equipped to safeguard communities and mitigate the impact of hazardous material incidents across the state. For more information about Hazmat Week or those interested in hazmat training opportunities, please contact Sarah Cerda at scerda@imd.idaho.gov.