In the Suzano section of Sao Paulo, Brazil, a private-industry hazmat, fire, rescue and EMS team protects a 30,000-square-foot industrial site. The team is divided into four groups of seven members, with each trained to the hazmat technician level.
In 2021, one of the four groups alone saw four hazardous product leaks, two fires and four medical emergencies. And like the rest of the world, they’ve had their share Covid-related issues. That one group conducted 60 environmental disinfections this past year.
To stay sharp each of the team’s four groups train monthly. And they get it done on a training ground that includes two burning tanks that use real fire, one chemical-spill silylate tank, drums, iso-containers, and a tower for high-angle rescue training.
The crew has two fire-fighting trucks, one with 9,000 liters of AFFF foam. The other carries 5,000 liters of water and 1,000 liters of foam. They also have two vans with hazmat and technical rescue equipment as well as two ambulances.
The biggest hazmat threat for the teams is the product that’s made and transported on site. They recently had a pipe carrying ammonia rupture. The employees of that sector were evacuated and two team members in Level A suits entered the area and contained the leak.
In addition to keeping their training sharp, one of the team’s biggest challenges is getting full buy-in from employees on the importance of safe practices and proper equipment maintenance. As we all know, the best incident response is the one we never have to respond to.