DHS Adopts NFPA Standards for Hazmat/WMD Incidents

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has adopted two additional NFPA standards for first responders: NFPA 472, Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents and NFPA 473, Standard for Competencies for EMS Personnel Responding to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents.

"When called, firefighters respond. If the past is our guide to the future, we know firefighters will be among the first called to respond to these challenging emergencies," said Greg Cade, U.S. fire administrator. "I applaud the efforts of the NFPA and DHS to identify the basic competencies required of firefighters, and more importantly the support this will provide the fire service leadership throughout the nation preparing their communities and first responders for responding to a hazardous materials event, or potential weapons of mass destruction incidents."

These two standards set minimum requirements for personnel responding to incidents involving hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction. NFPA 472 sets minimum competency levels for personnel responding to such incidents, and NFPA 473 covers the requirements for basic life support and advanced life support personnel in the pre-hospital setting.

"As the dedicated men and women of the fire service and other emergency responders are faced with new challenges in dangerous situations, often involving unexpected hazards, it is vital that they are well prepared to deal with them," said James M. Shannon, NFPA's president. "DHS's recent adoptions support responders and improve their safety by establishing important guidelines."

For more information on the standards, go to www.nfpa.org.

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