Montgomery County Hazardous Materials Response Team (MCHMRT) is a Pennsylvania State-Certified response team. It is part of ‘The Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management’, an organization dedicated to ensuring the safety and readiness of all the citizens of Montgomery County (the most populated county in Pennsylvania with around 1 million residents).
MCHMRT is composed of two stations located in different regions of the county and responds to any incident involving chemical or other hazardous spills or leaks.
MCHMRT’s overall mission is to save lives, protect property, and mitigate environmental impacts. They do this by identifying and resolving issues regarding hazardous materials emergency incidents through the use of state-of-the-art detection and identification equipment, technical expertise, tactical consultation, and advanced operational capabilities.
Personnel & Training tracking and management challenge
As simple as it sounds, one of the issues MCHMRT faced was having a solid list of contact information for their members and their corresponding emergency contacts. They had multiple lists floating around that people would use, but some were not up to date, which led to people missing critical information that was being sent out.
The team also did not have the ability for members to view a training schedule and RSVP. Coordinators would email everyone the dates and hope that they showed up.
Another struggle that the team experienced was tracking members who need physical test and having a clear visual representation of it.
Equipment & maintenance challenge
MCHMRT were trying to keep track of all equipment checks via paper checklists and Excel spreadsheets. This method was doing the job but lacked any ease of use.
“Being a hazardous materials response team, some of our most important equipment is our instrumentation. We carry a multitude of detection and identification equipment that all need to be calibrated and on different timelines. Some are every month, some are every 6 months, some are once a year.” John Waters - Hazmat Program Coordinator
Tracking what needed to be calibrated, when it needed to be calibrated, and what was out of service for calibration was a struggle for the team.
Incident reporting and re-evaluation challenge
Another challenge that they faced was how they were creating their incident reports.
HazMat officers would fill out an incident report form and sent it to the HazMat program coordinator. The HazMat program coordinator would review the report, approve it, and file it in the appropriate folder.
This method of incident reporting did not allow them to extrapolate any data from the incident reports. They were missing critical incident reports and re-evaluation opportunities.
After attending a meeting with a neighboring HazMat team, D4H was recommended. Following that meeting, they reached out to D4H for a demonstration and realized its potential and how much they could benefit it.
“D4H was very receptive to our questions and the solutions we were looking for.” John Waters - Hazmat Program Coordinator
MCHMRT finally deployed D4H as their main information management software. John Waters, a HazMat Program Coordinator said:
“D4H is our one-stop shop for all needs and the membership is able to monitor all team activities in order to maintain a common operating picture and situational awareness.”
“Overall it allows us to monitor all activities, equipment status, and communicate with members on a daily basis.”
Personnel and Training solution
With D4H, the individual members input their contact information. Any changes in information are the member’s responsibility to update on their D4H profile. This allows for one standardized list and nearly all communication with the team is sent through D4H.
“Now we can track attendance and plan accordingly based off of the number of members we have signed up.”
Equipment Management solution
MCHMRT is now able to enter all of their equipment data into D4H to track equipment checks, calibration dates, maintenance performed and set email reminders to automatically notify them when equipment needs to be calibrated.
Having this data is critical when working on budgets and justifications for equipment purchases.
Incident Reporting solution
Thanks to D4H they can now create insightful and valuable reports that enable them the capability to identify any trends, track time spent on calls, and track equipment usage on calls, and much more useful information.
D4H Personnel and Training: enables MCHMRT the tracking of all their personnel and their training, certifications, and availability. It also allows them to measure performance and to collaboratively engage their personnel to reach the highest standard of professionalism.
D4H Equipment Management: helps MCHMRT to ensure all of their complex equipment caches is under control and is always in a permanent state of preparedness thanks to accurate locations tracking, proactive inspections, repairs, expiry dates, service history logs, and more.
D4H Incident Reporting: provides MCHMRT with profound insightful reports of all their incident responses. They can now access game-changing data to re-evaluate their responses, make better decisions, save costs, and evidence the real value of the organization.