Hands-on HazMat Drills – Stop the leak!

A Hazardous Materials Response team may be faced with many challenges.  One of those challenges is stopping a dangerous chemical leak when no other options are available.

The HazMat team going down range in the hotzone to ‘stop that leak’ may face physically demanding and challenging manipulative tasks while also wearing hot, humid, and cumbersome PPE.  The only way to be proficient for this ‘career’ call is to train, train, and train again.  Hands-on realistic training is key to becoming proficient at HazMat emergency response.

To train your team it is important to make the evolutions safe yet demanding as well as stressful yet fun.  At this years HazSim Challenge at the VA Hazardous Materials Conference in VA Beach the training team at HazSim introduced a few new hands-on challenges for the students.

‘Every year we incorporate realistic scenarios and manipulative evolutions to challenge the students and leave them with both skills for their success and safety and also ideas to take back to their own team’ says Bill Bennett of Safety Systems Inc.

An evolution used in the ‘head to head’ competition known as the HazSim Challenge involved ‘stopping a leak’.

According to Team HazSim : ‘This is a great dexterity drill for your hazmat team. Simple to make and fairly inexpensive.’   What makes the drill tough is the tight working area inside the milk crate as seen in the below pix.  For further information check out more from the HazSim Challenge.  Here is also video from last year.

Equipment list:

  • 2-4 milk crates with sides cut out to slide flange ends through
  • 2 2″ pvc or galvanized steel
  • 2 flange heads
  • 1 gasket for flange
  • 4 bolts washers and nuts
  • garden hose connection to one end of flange
  • 1 mini garden hose manifold with 1 intake and 4 discharge
'Stop the leak' set up with basic items from the hardware store. - HMN

‘Stop the leak’ set up with basic items from the hardware store. – HMN

What makes the drill fun is performing two at the same time, as seen below from the HazSim Challenge.

Two stations set up for 'stop the leak' evolution. - HMN

Two stations set up for ‘stop the leak’ evolution. – HMN


Competitor in the HazSim Challenge racing to stop the leak - HMN

Competitor in the HazSim Challenge racing to stop the leak – HMN

More drill ideas : Lock drill, Chem Suicide Training, and more coming!

About The Author

Phil Ambrose first worked as a HazMat technician pouring radioactive monkey urine into drums for decay. Phil is currently a Fire Captain/Hazardous Materials Specialist/Paramedic for a busy metropolitan fire department in Southern California and founder of HazSim.com. Phil holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Loyola Marymount University and trains first responders across the country using his patented Hazardous Materials Simulation Meter.


  1. I like this drill! Could I please obtain a copy of the lesson plan and equipment and supply list, to use at my fire department.

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