Last Updated on May 4, 2022 by Cass County Emergency Management Agency

Over the past month area responders have gathered multiple evenings each week, and on weekends, to be better prepared for chemical emergencies. Over the last month the Cass County Emergency Management Agency conducted a HAZMAT Awareness and Operations Certification Program. The program prepares students to assess and respond to chemical emergencies and perform functions such as use detection equipment, isolate and control leaks, decontaminate patients and responders and rescue victims.

Students participate in technical decontamination outside the Cass County EMA building. Photo provided by Cass County EMA

Those successfully completing the course obtain certification from the Indiana Board of Firefighting Personnel Standards and Education. Those seeking certification complete both written and practical state tests.

Agencies supporting and participating in the training included Clymers Clinton Township Fire Department, New Waverly Fire Department, Walton Community Fire Department and Young America Fire Department.

The lead instructor for the course was Rocky Buffum, Cass County EMA Director. Buffum holds certification as a HAZMAT Specialist and Indiana Fire Instructor, which enables the agency to conduct training in house without having to pay to bring in outside vendors to conduct training. This allows greater flexibility in aligning agency training with volunteer availability, and also reduces cost to the agency.

Also this month, EMA offered a damage assessment course preparing volunteers to evaluate disaster impact following storms or floods and participated in site visits to preplan hazards at specific locations.

In the months ahead EMA plans to offer more offerings for internal responders as well as other agencies. EMA will be offering a Fire Instructor Course open to county response agencies. So far registrants represent 8 of 11 county fire departments.

Buffum stated “this is important on two fronts, one we are increasing the capacity of local responders to deliver programs their individual departments need on their schedule, and second, we are networking between departments to increase collaboration.”

EMA will also be offering in service programs area agencies can request on demand on a variety of hazardous materials response topics.

SOURCE: News release from Cass County Emergency Management Agency