Insights & News

The Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals Helps First Responders Prepare for a Disaster

Photo credit: © Flickr: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

Disasters happen. Some are natural: hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis. Others are man made disasters: chemical spills, oil spills, explosions. When disasters happen, we’re always grateful to the first responders. Did you ever wonder how those first responders know what to do?

This week BRG is working with the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals (AHMP) as they host their 25th annual national conference in Alaska. AHMP is a national organization dedicated to helping the professionals that are on the front-lines of many disasters. The conference helps these hazardous materials pros understand the latest regulations and best practices to better understand how to prevent (when possible) and respond to disasters. Attendees learn to handle all of the short and long term implications of a disaster at every level; community, environment, policy and recovery.

As part of the conference, AHMP conducted a hands-on emergency response scenario. Everyday in the U.S., millions of gallons of hazardous materials are transported by rail. Chances are that you’ve seen these rail cars, but didn’t know what was in them. A chemical disaster on the rails could happen in a multitude of places. The Alaska Railroad Corporation offered AHMP attendees the opportunity to witness three real-world demonstrations:

  • The Anchorage Fire Department responded to a chemical release from a rail car, showed the hazard assessment process and demonstrated decontamination.
  • The 103rd WMD Civil Support team showcased their capabilities pertaining to the release of a bio agent. They will also showed attendees the decontamination process.
  • The 95th Chemical Company demonstrated how respond to and help passengers affected by a rail car incident.

Here at BRG we value safety and especially appreciate organizations like AHMP that help educate and empower those who step forward in times of difficulty to make a difference.

photo credit: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson via photo pin cc