Members of NAS Patuxent River’s Fire Department prepare to enter the Center Stage Theater during a hazmat drill for the Citadel Shield/Solid Curtain 2019 exercise on Feb. 6, 2019. (Photo by Donna M Cipolloni/Naval Air Station Patuxent River)

IAFF Receives Nearly $2M Grant to Improve Hazardous Materials Emergency Response

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has been awarded a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to train fire fighters to respond to hazardous materials (HazMat) emergencies related to transportation incidents.

The DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) awarded the grant to the IAFF to provide advanced emergency response training to hundreds of fire fighters and other emergency response personnel.

“Professional fire fighters must be fully trained and prepared to respond to all hazards, from oil spills to weapons of mass destruction. The IAFF is proud to work with the Department of Transportation to keep our fire fighters trained and ready to protect their communities,” said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger.

PHMSA awards funding under the Supplemental Public Sector Training (SPST) Grant to national nonprofit fire service organizations to train instructors to conduct HazMat response training programs.

The PHMSA grant is just one of many grants the IAFF uses each year to ensure professional fire fighters have the training and resources needed to safely and effectively protect their communities.

The IAFF, which represents more than 319,000 professional fire fighters, will train more than 850 emergency responders to protect their health and safety and reduce occupational deaths and injuries related to hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction response so they can better protect the communities they serve.

HazMat emergencies can occur anywhere, have widespread and significant impacts on communities and pose danger to fire fighters. Training fire fighters in effective HazMat response can mean the difference between life and death for both citizens and those tasked with handling the most dangerous substances on earth.

In 2018, PHMSA reported more than 20,500 HazMat transportation incidents in the U.S., resulting in five fatalities, 17 hospitalizations and more than $103 million in damages.

The IAFF will use the PHMSA grant make sure fire fighters are sufficiently trained to ensure a safe and effective response. IAFF training programs are designed to meet nationally accepted standards incorporating information on all potential hazards, teaching appropriate actions – such as the use of personal protective and other rescue equipment – and stress the importance of preplanning.

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