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Barnstable County REPC hosts HAZMAT training

On Friday, January 8, 2016, the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) hosted a training session for Hazardous Materials Technicians covering specialized computer technology used to support responses to hazardous materials (HAZMAT) incidents.

The attendees were members of the Department of Fire Services HAZMAT District 1 Regional Response Team comprising firefighters and chiefs from the southeast region of Massachusetts including Cape Cod and the Islands.

The training was organized by Amy Alati, an emergency planner in the Barnstable County Department of Health and the Environment. She said, “The goal of the training is to empower the team with resources, to give it an extra edge when responding to incidents.”

The training session began with Amy Alati presenting an overview of the new Massachusetts Tier 2 Manager System and Tier 2 facility HAZMAT data. Next, E. Stefan Coutoulakis, a retired Captain and Hazardous Materials Officer from East Greenwich, RI, presented a computer lab refresher and training on the Computer Aided Management of Emergency Operations (CAMEO) software suite. The CAMEO system integrates a chemical database and a method to manage the data, an air dispersion model, and a mapping capability. All modules work interactively to share and display critical information in a timely fashion. Coutoulakis demonstrated how to use plotting facilities and mapping with Google Earth to establish a “drive up” view of a facility.

Jack McCarthy, the Training Coordinator for the District 1 Team and a firefighter at the Randolph, MA, Fire Department said that the HAZMAT team uses technical software on every incident and that Friday’s training was a good refresher. “We have a number of tools and we have training every month to stay current on all of them. We are always available to the fire departments in the District.”

Amy Alati reported that the training was attended by 36 team members and was very well received. “The Technicians I spoke with said the training was excellent and gave them a new appreciation of the power of software technologies in creating the best possible outcome in hazardous materials incidents.”

For more about the BCREPC, check out their website.