Written by Cadet Brito,
OCRFA, Battalion 50, Charlie Company, Squad 6, s6
DAILY BLOG: OCTOBER 17, 2018
On October 17, 2018 the week continued with First Responder Operations (FRO) for HAZMAT incidents. At this point we were familiarized with the basic knowledge of the subject and it was time for us to put our knowledge into practice. This morning PT was canceled instead at 0730 we began by getting wet, our first task was learning and practicing the process of decontaminating First Responders. We began with donning our structural firefighter PPE, and then proceeding to four stations where we would begin decontaminating each other. The rotation consisted of a First Responder decontaminating another First Responder in full structural PPE, simulating as if they had just exited the Hot Zone into the Warm Zone (decontamination area). The First Responder would have to get rinsed with water by someone in our company, in the anterior position they would get rinsed from the bottom of the face mask down to the boots, then the First Responder would turn around and the process was repeated on the posterior area rinsing from the top of the helmet down to the boots. When this process was complete, the coldest part of our day would take place. The First Responder then had to begin doffing the contaminated PPE down to their PT clothes, once this was done the rinsing would begin again, anterior top to bottom and posterior top to bottom. If you were not fully awake by this point, once you got wet you were in for a cold awakening. Luckily we were prepared with extra PT clothes so we could dry off and begin the next exercise.
After a short break and having changed into a set of dry PT clothes, it was time to get wet again. We set up a decontamination corridor and ran a scenario of a mass contamination. While a handful of cadets played the role of the First Responders, the rest of us played the role of the contaminated population. The cadets playing the role of the contaminated victims wore their brush coat and pants, and as the First Responders guided us on where to go and what to do we would doff our contaminated brush coat and pants. Once we were back to our dry PT clothes we were guided through the decontamination corridor where we were rinsed with water from the top of the engine. At this point it was clear that the decontamination process is a very structured process, no matter if its for First Responders or for a mass population.
After lunch we learned Technical Decontamination procedures. We were given a hazardous materials scenario requiring 4 separate Level A entries. Teams were outfitted into their suits then walked through a given corrido and performed their designated tasks after entering into a large conex box with victims and an overturned, leaking 55 gallon drum. A 3 pool decontamination process was completed after every entry. Cadets assigned to the Decon Team were also dressed in Level A. All the players of the scenario moved through each of their tasks. When the entry team returned to the cold zone, their vital signs were taken to confirm readings were normal.
The day concluded with our Hazmat exam, where it was time to put our understanding of the subject down on paper. We spent a majority of the day getting wet and getting other people wet but it was all part of the learning process, it was a challenging but fun day that really helped bring the subject of Hazmat full circle and into conclusion.