HAZMAT Response: How To Manage Your Equipment The Right Way


Hazardous Materials Teams and Divisions are developed to enhance the publics safety by making trained, equipped hazardous materials teams available throughout regions. These teams support local first responders in response to hazardous materials incidents, accidents, weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and acts of terrorism.

If not contained immediately and properly, hazardous materials can cause death, serious injury, long-lasting health effects, and damage to buildings, homes, and other property. The HazMat Team is there to ensure that any incident is contained and its effects on the residents of a region are minimized.

Managing a cache of monitors, detectors, hazmat trucks, and breathing apparatus across multiple shifts is no easy task. Teams can easily miss an inspection, repair, or expiry date.

To be successful you need to put a structure in place to manage equipment information the right way;

1. Define your equipment management requirements.

Organizations need to identify how they will summarize millions of dollars of response equipment down to a single management source. Organize information for repairs, expiry dates, service history, weights, values, calibrations, and inspections; ensuring equipment is ‘ready to go’ for any tasking.

2. Determine how to gather information.

Managing your equipment using spreadsheets, whiteboards, email, and paper makes gathering together all information for your reporting and decision making really difficult. The problem starts in the warehouse and carries on into the field. The trick is capturing equipment information as early as possible in the equipments life cycle and then processing it into useful information.

3. Decide who will manage the equipment.

It is important to choose someone who understands Hazmat response and the benefit of different types of information for your organization. What is relevant and what is not relevant to? What do you need to know before you can make a decision, or that will help you make the right one? The point, in terms of their evaluation, is to get an accurate assessment in order to better understand the organizations response capabilities based on available equipment resources.

4. Determine how equipment information will be shared.

The number of sign-offs required to implement a decision is one of the major issues faced by all organizations. Speed always counts, having the ability to share information and reports can only have positive effects. There should be a predetermined source of information that all involved can rely on being the definitive single source of information truth.

5. Choose the technology that will help manage equioment

The options are endless, for many years spreadsheets have been used as an aid for compiling equipment information. However, the evolution of technology has allowed public and private sector organizations to capture, store, and analyze their data in a structured way, adding real value to compiled information.

Never leave for an incident without knowing everything is on your truck and in the correct compartment. Avoid misplaced or forgotten equipment by tracking and auditing who had what, when, and where. Ensure your equipment will always be ready to go

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