The Haz Mat Guys podcast

We are very excited to have you checking out our podcast and hope you can help us share thoughts and knowledge across the world about Haz Mat Response. Our goal is to be able to bring the novice to expert, and keep the experts educated with new techniques and information that is out there.
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Now displaying: November, 2015
Nov 30, 2015

In this debriefing, Mike describes a recent incident dealing with a pepper bomb in a basement of a tenament.

Nov 30, 2015

In this hot wash, Mike explains the show and discusses a recent incident

Nov 27, 2015
THMG006 - Corrosives

In this episode we discuss the nuts and bolts of Corrosives.

Nov 18, 2015
THMG005 - Flammability

In this episode we discuss Flammability and response safety dealing with this hazard. We also discuss a few pertinent news articles from around the globe. Thank you for listening!

Nov 10, 2015
THMG001 - Introductions and Intents

Welcome to our first episode of our podcast. We are laying out what we are about and a few things that may interest you. Thanks for tuning in, and we hope that you will stay with us for future episodes...

Nov 10, 2015
THMG003 - Toxics Part 1

In this episode we discuss the hazards of Toxics and what they mean to you. We broke this topic into 2 segments.

Nov 10, 2015
THMG004 - Toxics Part 2

In this episode we will be finishing up the remainder of the Toxics section and getting some clarifications of what we are doing...

Nov 3, 2015
THMG002 - 12 Tips to be a Better Haz-Mat Technician

Time 0:48

  1. Be a student of the job
    1. We all get into the Haz Mat...some of us more. Some of us have a prior background that we hide until we are established in our Department. When all of that is over...let er rip!
    2. Learn from others

Time 1:34

    1. Pick up a book
      1. Hazardous Materials Air Monitoring and Detection Devices by Chris Hawley
      2. Hazardous Materials Technician from IFSTA
      4. Any state guide
        1. State fire academy or Office of Fire Prevention and control. These are usually nested under the DHS heading for the state.

Time 2:50

      1. Learn the laws and regulation
        1. CFR (code of federal regulation)
        2. Osha regulations

Time 3:20

    1. Don’t fall into the couch
      1. Laziness gives other an excuse to be lazy as well

Time 4:35

    1. Read articles and stay current
      1. Firefighter close calls and
      2. What happened last tour?
      3. What happened in that other state?
      4. What happened in that other country?

Time 5:21

  1. Surround yourself with people that are better at this than you are
    1. In all professions there are those guys or girls.
    2. Start slowly and get them to give the goods.
      1. Some of these jems are slowly coaxed from their shells. Some of them may not be trying to help you, but if you ask them for help will be there to answer. Don’t expect them to come to you.

Time 6:46

  1. Don’t Panic
    1. No matter the situation, remain calm
      1. BE A DUCK
      2. Panic leads to lack of thing
    2. There is no one coming after us
    3. “I DID cause the accident, I am just here to fix it.”
      1. when was the last time a plumber ran into your house in a frenzy to fix your toilet
    4. We are a highly trained, very professional unit DOING WHAT YOU CANNOT. There is no need to panic if I am not panicking.

Time 8:42

  1. Be Professional
    1. Look the part
    2. Act the part.
    3. Speak the part
      1. Lots of times it’s not what you say but how you say it. Right or wrong your tone says a lot
    4. Hazmat scenes bring out
      1. Media
      2. High profile individuals

Time 10:04

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
    1. Cannot stress this enough
    2. Seek help in the aspects you are weak in.
      1. This is the hardest thing to do because it involves admitting your faults and understanding weakness, then accepting it.
    3. I have learned that everyone has the ability to make you better
      1. no matter now new a person is, everyone has a different perspective and technique

Time 11:25

  1. Know your tools (Mike's Story about drilling a saddle tank)
    1. This is a big one
    2. Weakness in your tools leads to you look looking like a fool at the scene.
      1. Number the compartments on the rig
      2. Make detailed lists of what is in which boxes, review periodically.
    3. You don’t have to know numbers, but important.
    4. Your tools are what separates you from the other companies. That with specialized training makes you special.
    5. New guys enter the company is a great time to refresh yourselves on the tools

Time 15:21

  1. Keep a notebook
    1. When I was a probie we got these...hate them
      1. Bobs “Plus or Minus” screwdriver story
    2. When I was in Haz Mat... loved them
    3. It is a short concise book of WHAT YOU THINK
    4. Only the best of the best goes in
    5. Don’t forget about the digital version of this
      1. will do a separate show on Bob”s obsessive data filing
    6. There will be a following podcast about how to do this digitally for all of you that would like to.

Time 19:13

  1. Have a firm understanding of the basics, and keep revisiting them.
    1. Definitions...the basics
    2. Without the definitions you cannot
      1. Speak like a hazmatguy
      2. Act like a hazmatguy
      3. think like a hazmatguy
    3. Under no uncertain terms does the basics mean easy!
      1. the basics are the fundamentals and no matter how much you think you know them you can always ask yourself why does that happen. What causes A to go to B.
      2. understanding the basics give you the foundation to predict what is going to happen next. It also allows you to create a plan that is always three moves ahead as well as a backup in case anything does go wrong.
    4. Answer the “WHY”

Time 21:30

  1. Anticipate the worst case scenario
    1. Help you think like a hazmat guy.

Time 22.08

  1. Be fit for duty (salvo)
    1. It's not easy
    2. Fatigue
      1. SCBA
      2. Suit
      3. General wear and tear
    3. not fit will reduce mental awareness

Time 24:40

  1. Learn from others mistakes
    1. Usually people who make mistakes, and are talked to in a non-confrontational manner will tell you about what they did wrong or what they could have done better.
      1. Use humor to help impact of your screw up.
    2. Teach others to critique themselves.
      1. NOT A PUBLIC crucifixion, its to prevent generational mistake
    3. Research what other people tell you
      1. “Trust but verify”

Time 27:39

  1. Find out how others did a response
    1. Even on a response you were on.
      1. You may have not have been in a position to see all aspects of the incident.
      2. Ask how you did
      3. why you did
      4. what would you have done differently
    2. On incidents you were not on
      1. Have them paint the picture of the scene, and put yourself “there”
      2. Details!!!
      3. Possibly run the scene as you have done it, get out the books, check the gear and do a dry run replicating the operation, or deviation that you would have done.

Time 30:00


Study stack program


Look for anything HMC1 to get all of Bob’s flashcard.

GIVE FEED BACK FOR THIS from twiter, Facebook, Email, or Voicemail.

TIME 31:25

Refrigerant leak


Ammonia response ideas


  • Ammonia itself
    • UN1005
    • Looks like water
    • Low boiling point
    • When boiled it absorb an enormous amount of heat, that’s why it’s used as a refrigerant.
    • When boils gives white cloud, from condensing moisture in air.
      • ENDOTHERMIC (absorbs heat vs. give off heat)
    • Lighter than air
      • Cold weather or lots of moisture will keep it low.
    • expands 850:1
    • Loves water, will seek it out
      • Like water more than air
        • One volume of water will absorb 1300 volumes of NH3
        • When HN3 finds water in a closed container, a vacuum will happen.

Time 34:10

      • When mixed with water become ammonium hydroxide
      • When mixing it becomes EXOthermic, check with TIC
      • Remember to add NH3 to water and not water to NH3, it will become spitting mad.
    • Very strong base, protect runoff
    • LEL/UEL 16-25%
    • Usually transports in MC331 bobtails, working pressure of 265psi
      • Will be dropped to a facility for utilization or dropped into “Nurse tanks” (basically mini MC331 with no wheels for on-site use.

Time 39:35

  • Releases
    • Since so cold may create ice plug and stop, until warmed
    • Cool gas, so wants to seeks low spots, but weather will play into this
    • Auto Refrigeration
  • Response considerations

Time 41:48

Auto Refrigeration explained

    • Don’t allow it to find live bodies of water!!
      • Consider use of water fog to “knock” down the vapors and make into liquid.
    • Risk a lot to save a lot, risk little to save little
    • Trapping liquid HN3 in valving may be dangerous. If liquid is caught between two valves and heats, it may blow up.
    • ######The tarp method####### See below


Time 46:25


Tarp and Cover Control/Containment Method


This is a tarp and cover control/containment method for some ammonia release incidents. The release point is covered with a tarp (basic tarp you can buy at a local hardware supply – polyethylene/polypropylene). The tarp covers the release point and the escaping dense gas cloud will condense to liquid phase product which will then cool the container/release point. We learned that there is a direct pressure/temperature relationship with ammonia and if the temperature drops, the pressure drops. Your downwind concerns are also minimized in that the release is controlled and contained to the local release area. This is not a cure-all tactic. At this point you just have it controlled and contained. You may then start to get liquid pooling of ammonia under and near the tarp. Do not walk through liquid pools.


What is occurring under the tarp while the dense gas flows around the vessel? The cold gas will lower the pressure in the vessel and the condensation of the aerosol stream will result in liquid ammonia saturating the ground rather than to go downwind to threaten life hazard… if there is no life or environmental hazard on the downwind then allowing the ammonia to escape to atmosphere might be the best solution. In the picture to the right, notice how the dense gas cloud stays low as the gas begins to vaporize to atmosphere on the downwind direction. On a dry day the dense gas cloud is not as evident although the vapor risk may still be very high on the downwind direction.


You can see in the picture to the left that the tarp has minimized the exposure area. The leak point or leaking container will be cooled from the ammonia if we drop temperature the pressure in the container will also drop. Fully contained with the first tarp; secondary tarps may be helpful; now we can find the source of the release and control the flow and shut it down! A positive pressure ventilation fan is helpful in directing the dense gas away from the responders as they place the tarp and work on controlling the release… it’s also a good first step to getting fresh air to a victim that may be down in the downwind direction.


In the picture to the right, notice the containment of an aerosol in a relatively low humidity circumstance: working in dense gas and aerosol requires Level A PPE. Placing the tarp from a distance, outside the dense gas cloud, can be accomplished with level A or even level B PPE. A fan used to support the responders is very valuable. Responders must be trained in this procedure before attempting it.


Rail tank cars typically have a capacity of 34,500 gallons, but due to outage requirements, they will contain less than 30,000 gallons. Capping kits may or may not work on the tank cars. It depends if there is enough spacing around the valve flanges. There will always be 2 liquid valves running the length of the car. A single vapor valve will be perpendicular to the liquid valves. Tanks will also have a pressure relief valve and may have other valves such as gauging device, thermometer well and sample tube line.


Cargo trailers (tractor trailer versions) could range in size from 3.500 gallon to almost 12,000 gallon. Nurse tanks range in size from 500 gallon to over 1,000 gallon.


In summary don’t be valve turners since we do not want to trap liquid ammonia without being able to relieve pressure. Ensure use of proper personal protective equipment. Review where and when to use water. Be sure to contain any run off. Evaluate tarp and cover as a control/containment method for the incident. And finally, if you don’t know, then don’t go!