Interested in Joining Our Team?
Have you ever thought to yourself "I'd like to join a HazMat team, but..."? What are some of the “buts” you used to talk yourself out of pursuing the interest? You’re no good at chemistry? You could never get into a Level A suit? You're not smart enough? The list goes on and on. These are all valid concerns on your part, but you may have answered them incorrectly.
So, just what kind of qualities does it take to be a successful member of a HazMat Team? The following are just some of the qualities, abilities, and attributes that are required for membership on a Hazardous Materials Team:
Team Player Attitude - While many jobs and volunteer opportunities require teamwork, this is especially important on a HazMat Team. You simply can't be on the Entry Team all the time getting your picture in the paper. There are too many other areas that need to be staffed, such as Decon, Research, Back-Up Team, Logistics, etc. No one can do it all on their own. The ideal HazMat Technician fits in with the rest of the team, follows the chain of command as opposed to freelancing, and is ready, willing, and able to get in, get dirty, and get the job done, regardless of the assigned task.
Willingness To Learn, Dedication, and Commitment – As a new team member, it is impossible to know everything about all facets of a HazMat response. The field is simply too large and complex. Training is available every month to aid in team members’ continuing education.
Pride - A HazMat Team is a special team whose members take care of their equipment and who conduct themselves in a professional manner when working with the team, other responders, and the public.
Self-Motivation - The best HazMat Technicians are those who are self-motivated and disciplined. Familiarize yourself with the equipment and feel free to ask senior personnel any questions you may have.
Science / Technical Background - You don't have to have a PhD in Organic Chemistry to be on a HazMat Team, but some knowledge of chemistry may be beneficial to your training. This can be a coursework background in high school, or college chemistry, or a Chemistry of Hazardous Materials course. Lab experience isn't a requirement, but it helps to know what might happen if Chemical A mixes with Chemical B.
Analytical skills - HazMat incidents don't always fit the norm. What do we do if we have a leak that none of our kits can patch? What happens when Plan A fails and Plan B isn't working like it should? The HazMat Technician takes an analytical approach by looking at the entire incident and creates a solution by thinking outside of the box.
Planning & Management Abilities - Many HazMat Technicians will progress and become HazMat Officers. Officer candidates should be able to handle the planning and management of training and equipment programs as they relate to the HazMat Team.
Mechanical Skills - Mechanical aptitude is a definite asset due to the tools we use (chlorine kits, Electronic monitors, etc.).
Computer Skills – HazMat training will cover the computer programs being used for chemical research, map interpretation, etc.
Calm, Cool, and Collected Personality - HazMat Technicians must be able to remain calm and cool under pressure and be able to direct non-Technician personnel in assisting the HazMat Team in defensive and support functions.
Communications Skills - A HazMat Technician must be able to adequately recall what he/she has seen and done in the Hot Zone. This communication may be verbally, via radio, or face to face. It may also be drawn in the form of a diagram of the area in question. The communication may also be in the form of hand signals in areas where noise prevents verbal communication or where the radio fails, forcing the use of alternative means of communication. Writing skills are also important in order to document the incident in After Action and Cost Recovery Reports.
Verbal communication skills may also be valuable should the Technician be required to testify about their actions in a civil or criminal proceeding relating to the incident.
Jack of all Trades - A working knowledge of chemistry, plumbing, electricity, carpentry, computers, carpentry, etc. will provide a knowledge base to draw from during those times when you are confronted by a situation that wasn't exactly covered in the last course you took.
These are just a few of the qualities that are preferred in a new HazMat Technician. Don't let the lack of a chemical background stop you from joining a HazMat Team. Go ahead and give it a try. It just may turn out to be one of the best moves you'll ever make.
Want to learn more about HazMat and the Waupaca County HazMat Team?
Online Application (Click Here)
Contact us: Waupaca County HazMat Team
(715) 256-7193 (Non-Emergency)