Disasters Remind First Responders to Update Hazmat Training

Arizonans don’t have to worry about hurricanes, which have caused the release of hazardous materials. However, the Southwest does experience flash floods, high winds, haboobs and wildfires that can trigger leaks of toxic substances into communities, posing serious health risks.  Whether the disasters are natural or man-made, training is key to effective emergency response and saving lives. Tucson Fire Department is hosting Advanced Hazmat Life Support (AHLS) training from September 25-27, for Southern Arizona emergency responders to better prepare them to deal with the medical impacts of disasters. The three-day classroom sessions, offered by the University of Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center, will be held at the Tucson Fire Department, 300 S. Fire Central Place, Tucson.

More than 30 regional firefighters from Avra Valley Fire District, Drexel Heights Fire District, Northwest Fire District, Tucson Fire Department, Tubac Fire District, Pascua Pueblo Fire Department, Green Valley Fire District and Rural Metro Fire will participate in the AHLS Provider and Tox-Medics courses, and 20 will take the AHLS Instructor Course to become teachers for their local departments in Southern Arizona. The AHLS course focuses on providing expert medical care for victims of hazmat incidents and toxic terrorism, including how to rapidly assess hazmat patients, recognize the symptoms of particular toxic substances and immediately administer specific treatments. Participants will learn about decontamination, antidotes and drug therapy and establishing hazmat-response systems in the community.