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HazmatHazmat Challenge tests responders’ skills

Published 17 July 2017

Ten hazardous materials response teams from New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri tested their skills in a series of graded, timed exercises at the 21st annual Hazmat Challenge 10-14 July at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Ten hazardous materials response teams tested their skills in a series of graded, timed exercises simulating hazardous materials emergencies involving aircraft, rail and highway transportation, industrial piping, a biological lab, and a confined space event.

Ten hazardous materials response teams from New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri tested their skills in a series of graded, timed exercises at the 21st annual Hazmat Challenge 10-14 July at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“The Hazmat Challenge provides a training venue for Laboratory and regional Hazmat responders where they are able to test and expand their technical response capabilities in a demanding but safe environment,” said Jeff Dare, Group Leader for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Emergency Response Group. “The scenarios this year will provide unique challenges for the teams.”

Held at Los Alamos’ Technical Area 49, the event required participants to respond to simulated hazardous materials emergencies involving aircraft, rail and highway transportation, industrial piping, a biological lab, and a confined space event. The finale of the Hazmat Challenge was a skills-based obstacle course. Teams were graded and earned points based on their ability to perform response skills through a 10-station obstacle course while using fully encapsulating personal protective equipment.

LANL notes that the Laboratory began the Hazmat Challenge in 1996 to hone the skills of its own hazmat team members. The event now offers a comprehensive training opportunity in a competitive format that is open to all hazardous materials response teams in New Mexico and across the nation. The winning team receives a traveling trophy and top-scoring teams in the technical categories are awarded permanent trophies. Separate trophies are awarded to the three top scoring teams in the obstacle course event.

A video about the 2008 and 2012 Hazmat challenges is on the Laboratory’s YouTube channel.