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Tennessee Hazardous Materials Program - Back

Collective Training Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) first became involved in hazardous materials in 1977. Following a bromine spill near Rockwood, it became apparent there was a serious lack of hazardous materials training and equipment in Tennessee. While TEMA's program was still being developed, tragedy struck in Waverly when a propane explosion left 19 dead and 70 injured. At that time, Tennessee led the nation in deaths and injuries of emergency responders. Pledged to ensure "that no one be needlessly killed or injured responding to a hazardous material incident," The Tennessee Hazardous Materials Institute and the state response program became fully operational.  Today the training portion of the hazardous materials program focuses on: creating qualified instructors, training individual responders, and developing accredited hazardous materials teams.


This 4-hour course is for responders that are likely to witness or discover a hazardous materials release/incident. The course outlines the roll of the Awareness Level First Responder as that of taking no further action beyond notifying the authorities of the incident/release. This course defines and describes risks associated with hazardous materials in an incident. It presents the student with an understanding of the potential outcomes associated with a hazardous materials present, the ability to recognize the presence of a hazardous materials, and the ability to identify the hazardous materials. It also defines the roll of the first responder in emergency response planning, site security and control, and demonstrates the ability to use the US DOT Emergency Response Guidebook.

Target Audience:  All first responders

Prerequisites:  None


TEMA utilizes the NFA, IRHMI-BC & CI course as the base for its Operational level training.  TEMA has taken this two-course series and combined it to make one course, with the same 32-hour curriculum.  This Operational Level course covers basic operating procedures for first responders before, after, or during a hazardous materials incident. The course defines hazardous materials, describes roles and responsibilities, and the risks associated with the incident.  It discusses the limitations of, and identifies resources appropriate to, emergency and non-emergency situations.  The course also teaches first responders the basic steps of a systematic process for a safe and appropriate response to hazardous materials incidents. It provides the types, uses, and sources of information needed to recognize and identify the hazard. Finally, the course will identify basic options, requirements, and limitations of methods used to control, contain, or confine a hazardous materials incident. The students must demonstrate the ability to don, work in, and doff PPE provided by the authority having jurisdiction.  The student must also demonstrate the ability to perform emergency decontamination. This TEMA course is taught in the community (day, evening, weekend, or split) by qualified TEMA instructors at the convenience of participants and at no cost to local government.   A new TEMA HazMat Operations course is under development and expected in early 2011.

 Reciprocity: The four day HazMat Operations course conducted by Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy is also accepted.

Target audience:  Primary – Fire Fighters - Law Enforcement - EMS

Prerequisites:  None

Secondary:   All other emergency response organizations  


TEMA has developed the HMTO 80-hour course in which the individual student is trained to operate in an offensive mode when responding to a hazardous materials incident.  It is also designed to prepare team members to operate safely and as a unit in dealing with Hazardous Materials incidents. Emphasis is on teamwork and the use and limitations of existing team equipment. Content includes personal protection, safety procedures, basic physical and chemical properties, container characteristics, basic tactics and guidelines for team policies, procedures and operations. Module quizzes are utilized to evaluate class progress.  Field trips and hands-on competency drills are conducted to reinforce classroom activities.  There is a final test and the course concludes with an evaluated written and practical (hands-on) exam, with a full-scale team exercise.  An average score of 80 must be maintained to successfully complete the course.  At least one of these courses is offered in each TEMA region per year, contingent upon funding.  

Target audience:         Local HM team members

Prerequisites:              TEMA Haz Mat Operations (The four day HazMat Operations course                                                          conducted by Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy is also accepted.)

                                           ICS - 16hrs Classroom Instruction (NFA ICS, ICS 200 Classroom, ICS 300)

                                           FEMA IS 700: National Incident Management System (NIMS) - An                                                               Introduction

                                           FEMA IS 800b: National Response Framework - An Introduction                    

                                           FEMA IS 100: Introduction to ICS

                                          FEMA IS 200: ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents

                                          FEMA IS 3: Radiological Emergency Management 

                                          Radiological Monitoring (8hr) (currently the one or two day offering of                                                 MERRTT (Modular Emergency Response Radiological Transportation Training)



TEMA works with the Department of Energy and delivers this course in two versions the full 16 hour offering and the one day 8 hour version for radiological monitoring only.  The course gives and understanding of basic radiological response hazards and safety and teaches the responders to safely monitor for radiation.

Target audience:         Local and state emergency responders working with, in or around                                                         radiological hazards

Prerequisites:                FEMA IS 3: Radiological Emergency Management 


This 3 day course covers the concepts of radiation protection, radiation detection instruments, radiological monitoring techniques, radiological hazards and protective actions, team building, and basic procedures to support planning and response for emergency and recovery activities in the event of a radiological incident.  The course covers all types of radiological hazards from fixed facility to transportation to WMD.

Target audience:         Local and state emergency responders working with, in or around                                                         radiological hazards

Prerequisites:                FEMA IS 3: Radiological Emergency Management 

                                            MERRTT 8 hr