WAHMR Conference

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Florida Hazmat Conference

Tactical Chemistry – Dr Hazmat Inc

Wednesday, June 7, 2023  8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Location: Calloway A/B

Presented by: Chris Weber, PhD/Hazmat Tech – Dr Hazmat Inc


Tactical decisions at hazardous materials emergencies are heavily influenced by the released chemicals and their properties. Using NFPA 470 (2022) Chapters 34 and 38 as the framework, we will make tactical decisions at hazardous materials incidents fall into place using chemical demonstrations, scenario-based exercises, and hands-on chemical identification exercises using a variety of air-monitoring and sample identification equipment. We will examine the effect of chemical class, concentration, and complexity of mixtures on detection, identification, and product control. The class is highly interactive with students leading the direction of the class as we discuss multiple scenarios culled from the news and experience to illustrate the chemistry of hazardous materials.


Learning Objectives:

  • Incorporate chemical knowledge into response tactical decision making using actual incidents as table top exercises.
  • Understand how chemical and physical properties affect response decisions at hazardous materials releases.
  • Understand how product chemistry affects the ability of air monitoring, detection, and identification devices to accurately detect and identify materials at various concentrations and purities at hazardous materials incidents.

Real-Time FTIR Gas Identification

A Capability Every Response Team Should Possess

Thursday, June 8, 2023, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Location: Calloway A/B

Presented by: Brandon Gayle – Gayle Training Solutions


Is your recon team fully equipped to assess all hazards? According to best practices and NFPA Standards, the initial entry into potential hazardous materials, illicit drugs, or terrorism events requires the use of air monitoring instrumentation to protect those entering the hot zone and to gather vital information about the contaminates present to begin the risk assessment process and determine if the correct PPE has been selected. The problem is the traditional instrumentation that we send our responders down range with only indicates when there is “something” present other than normal air. While that may indicate a possible hazard is present, there is no way to know for sure until a positive identification is made by locating a source or collecting a sample for later analysis.

All chemicals pose a hazard at different concentrations, some at lower concentrations than others, and just because a sensor is indicating the presence of a gas or vapor, there is no way for the responder to know what the actual concentration of that gas or vapor is until it is identified, and the proper correlation factor is calculated. This reveals a known gap in our technology that has gone largely unfilled until this past year. Realtime gas/vapor identification has never been available before, and until now, we have adapted our response to these “unknown readings” based on working around the lack of technology by using AHJ-determined action levels for each sensor deployed. This session will address the current gap in our technology, the safety issues that can arise due to this gap, and introduce a gap-stop technology that was brought to our market this past year. FTIR gas identification is going to revolutionize the way we approach incidents and provide a more rapid risk assessment for incident commanders, therefore increasing responder safety, especially during initial entry into an unknown environment.


Learning Objectives:

  • The participant will identify the weaknesses of current air monitoring technologies including sensor cross-sensitivities, T90 response times, relative response factors, corrosive vapors, and undetectable gases.
  • The participant will identify situations when action levels for each sensor may be insufficient to protect a responder based on technologies currently used for initial entry into a hot zone.
  • The participant will demonstrate how to use an FTIR Gas/Vapor instrument to identify an unknown atmosphere and make risk assessment decisions based on quantitative calculations with provided relative response factors.