Airport Fire and Rescue Service personnel qualify as Hazardous Materials Advisors

Two Airport Fire and Rescue Service firefighters recently attended the UK Fire Service College at Moreton-on-Marsh in Gloucestershire and successfully qualified as Hazardous Materials Advisors.

Sub Officer Karim Afzan and Leading Firefighter Tennessee Fortunato are now equipped with fully updated specialist knowledge, in line with the UK’s National Operational Guidance, to be able to deal with incidents of a hazardous nature which also certifies them with an internationally recognised qualification. The demanding 3 week course prepared the officers for specialist advisor roles at incidents involving hazardous substances, in either industrial sites, commercial environments or military installations.

This course entailed a combination of theory sessions, table-top scenarios, role-play exercises and practical fire ground assessment scenarios. They now have the advanced knowledge and practical skills to be able to assess complex, unusual or protracted hazardous materials incidents and are also able to make detailed and skilled interpretation of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives data.

The two officers can now provide specialist advice and support on hazardous materials and on the environmental protection aspects of a multi-agency incident at all operational command levels, using a risk based approach. This includes decontamination procedures for both a localised or mass scale events and an understanding on how to detect any illicit activities within an incident that may prove to have physical evidence of criminal intentions from the use of a hazardous substance.

Their new knowledge base and advice will be used to update and further develop the existing AFRS Standard Operating Procedures. This will benefit both operational and training activities when planning for and dealing with any hazardous material or environment whilst adopting safe systems of work. They will also now be able to contribute to and provide additional specialist skills to further complement those existing within other emergency services and relevant agencies.