US civilians trained to use hazmat suits for chemical emergencies
California emergency service workers and citizens have been trained to use hazmat suits in the event of a chemical emergency.
The use of hazmat suits may seem like something reserved for the movies, but one US town is taking the threat of chemical emergencies seriously.
According to the Lompoc Record, emergency services employees and members of the public have been offered three day-long training courses to help them respond better to incidents that involve hazardous materials.
The educational days saw participants don hazmat suits and prepare for events such as chemical spills and terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction.
Emergency Services Training Institute hazmat training specialist Lori Peace told the news provider that people should be prepared to deal with such events.
“It can happen anywhere, anytime. As first responders, you have to train for the worst-case scenarios,” she said.
Fire fighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, nurses, doctors and US Coast Guard members joined military personnel for the training.
There are various chemical suits available which offer different levels of protection. These levels are referred to differently in Europe and America but an equivalent suit can be found.
For example, a Type 1 suit in Europe protects against liquid and gaseous chemicals and is gas-tight according to standards prEN 943 part 1. The US equivalent of this is a Level A suit which includes a full-face piece, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or a supplied air respirator with an escape cylinder. This is all included in the inside of the suit. Level A protection also means that an intrinistrically safe two-way radio is also worn inside of the suit
Frontline Safety has a range of chemical protective suits from both MSA and Drager available from on the website. The Drager CPS 5900 is an example of these suits and allows protection against hazardous gases, liquids and particles of the utmost priority.
The suit is lightweight, making it ideal for hazmat incidents. It can protect against a range of industrial chemicals as well as warfare agents and is specifically designed for low risk operations such as taking measurements or transferring hazardous substances in non-explosive atmospheres. The Drager CPS 5900 has been approved to EN 943 (Part 1 & 2 – ET) standards which is the equivalent, more or less, to a US level A suit.
It is also approved to NFPA 1994, class 2. To purchase this chemical protective suit or any other from the range, please visit the Frontline Safety website or click on the image above. If you require further information, you can contact us on [email protected].
One of the exercises reportedly had the participants building Lego models while wearing full hazmat gear in order to get them used to the heavy gloves and full facemasks.
The training was also used to help the emergency services staff recognise dangers to themselves and included a mock scenario where a pipe bomb was placed in full view in order to show them that there may also be malicious threats which exist outside the obvious primary incident.
Hazmat gear can come in many forms from full suits to facemasks and other types of breathing apparatus.
Posted by Shona Innes