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2015 Madonna winter Scenario

The 2015 winter semester scenario has been completed and the students performed the tasks well. The scenario was held at the scheduled class time at the consistent location. All duties were performed by the class and the ICS structure was accomplished with manpower of five (5) members. Often this is a good showing for remediation Teams, directed as a contractor for hazardous materials clean-up. Some Teams may contain more personnel, many contain less. While manpower is a variable number in todays’ time, realize that on your site, the less team members that are used by your contractor the longer the time involved for your incident. All safeguards are kept in place under OSHA guidelines, while duties simply require more time with lesser personnel.

Pictures of this years’ scenario can be found in “Pictures from the Field” on this website. The ICS structure was initially establish upon arrival at the site. Duties were distributed as most organizations do, by a pre-determined structure of who has what job at an incident. The initial site evaluation began after contact with the site supervisor. He briefed the Team Response on the conditions found, smells and sight of objects found along with the need for investigation. The site was shut off from non-essential personnel and site security was provided by plant personnel and local law enforcement.

The students correctly chose level “A” for the initial entry for site assessment, even though the probable site was an illegal methamphetamine drug lab. This was to their credit and the proper evaluation procedure for the initial identification of “un-knowns.” After samples were taken for “Chem-Cat” analysis, as this was the class model used for identification/detection/monitoring of the hazardous waste, the hazard identification revealed that level “B” was the proper level of protection for the next Entry Teams conducting operations in the Hot Zone.

Their second step of “prioritization” determined two (2) factors in this scenario. The students needed to decide between; whether to separate and isolate, the possible explosive combination of the anhydrous ammonia from the fuels found, or, to secure the corrosives from the coming weather condition change. Rain was forecasted and began soon after arrival. This was a tough call, while either could be correct; it was a wise decision to secure the corrosives first. Past experience shows that explosion possibilities on these sites are lower than corrosive vapor issues. For the first time student class, this is a noted choice showing great concern as one must appreciate they are operating from a position of zero experience. I admired their decision making.

The mitigation went well as they performed the tasks with the limited equipment on site with defined objectives. The students found various challenges with their “Dry” decontamination system in the usual ways. There was minimal cross-contamination for the decontamination “line” which is to be expected.

The recommendations for the final phase of environmental remediation were especially thoughtful given limited experience. They properly handed the site back to the owner “after” the incident was completed with all protocols observed. The post-incident critique showed thoughtful consideration and evaluation for a number of issues. Of primary concern was the evaluation of the manpower used for the “Chem-Cat” identification device. The students found that their choice should be revised to have two (2) personnel operating the “kit” to limit the operator(s) from being suddenly “swamped” with multiple samples and an eager IC. This adds stress to the operation when focus is needed most. With an incorrect identity, dangerous decisions could result in injury to personnel. This was a thoughtful a deliberate contribution which showed the students concern for the operational “system” at a hazardous materials incident.

I was pleased with this scenario results and have seen many Operational Teams’ WITH experience that could benefit from the principles demonstrated by the winter semester 2015 Madonna Haz-Mat Team, good job guys!

                                         Haz Mat Mike


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