HazMat Challenge 2013

CarolinaFireJournal - By Joel Wood
By Joel Wood
10/22/2013 -

The 2013 HazMat Challenge, sponsored by the N.C. Association of Hazardous Materials Responders was another huge success. We had 10 teams from nine departments across North Carolina who competed for various prizes, and of course bragging rights. We are pleased to announce that this year’s winner is the High Point Fire Department HazMat Team. High Point’s team members were Glenn Clapp, Chase Comer, Dustin Davis and Brian Bullock. Congratulations to these responders for a job well done.


This was our 10th year of the competition. The HazMat Challenge was the brainchild of Mike Chapman, former member of RRT 4. Mike and I gathered a few training props together back in 2003 and thought it would be something fun for the teams who were attending the state fireman’s conference. We never imagined that 10 years later we would have 10 teams competing in an event that consistently draws several hundred conference spectators.

For the first eight years of the challenge, we only had practical or “hands-on” objectives for the teams. In 2012, we decided that it was time to make a change. After months of meetings and discussions within the planning team, we decided to add an element of management, decision-making and delegation. We wanted the competition to be a better representation of activities encountered during response. While it’s impossible to recreate response elements in a competition, the competitors must fulfill some basic administrative and management priorities that they would see in the field.

The teams are comprised of four members who work together through all the elements of the competition. The teams are briefed prior to their start time, just as they would be briefed on an incident. They are given an Incident Action Plan (IAP), which contains all the information they need to successfully complete the objectives. Once their time begins, they must follow the instructions in the IAP and stay on track. A judge escorts them throughout the objectives, but is there only to monitor their adherence to the rules. The objectives consist of mapping, site safety planning, emergency procedures, communications and rapid Q&A. The remaining objectives deal with the traditional “hands-on” which conclude the challenge course.

We would like to thank all our teams who competed this year. They are Williamston, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Raleigh, Greensboro, Asheville, Monroe, Concord and High Point. We would also like to recognize the staff that made it all possible. This year’s logistical needs and time constraints presented a unique set of challenges for the planning team and staff members. These members are Alan Cagle, A.C. Rich, Ian Toms, Vince Marks, Tim Hartsell, Angelo Owens, Marvin Brooks, Abby Moore, Tracy Winecoff and Tim Smith.

On behalf of the N.C. Association of Hazardous Materials Responders, we would like to extend an invitation to anyone in the response community to visit our website, http://nchazmat.com/, and learn about membership to the association. Our site also offers training announcements, resource links and meeting dates.To all our response partners, stay safe and stay alive.
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