Training >> Browse Articles >> Hazardous Materials


Hazardous Materials: What You Need to Know

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Chemicals are found everywhere. They purify drinking water, increase crop production, and simplify household chores. But chemicals also can be hazardous to humans or the environment if used or released improperly.

Hazards can occur during production, storage, transportation, use, or disposal. You and your community are at risk if a chemical is used unsafely or released in harmful amounts into the environment where you live, work, or play.

Featured Career: HazMat

Job Description

A major factor that can positively influence the safety of first responders, career and volunteer, is ensuring that all personnel are safe from dangerous chemicals they may not even be able to see. As a HazMat Specialist your primary responsibility would be to safely analyze and remove hazardous waste during field investigations. You must have the professional ability act independently and make decisions under difficult conditions.

How Much Do HazMat Specialists Make?

FireLink Favorites:
» Quiz: What Level HazMat Are You?
» Quiz: Are You a Leader in Your Department

Hazardous materials in various forms can cause death, serious injury, long-lasting health effects, and damage to buildings, homes, and other property. Many products containing hazardous chemicals are used and stored in homes routinely. These products are also shipped daily on the nation’s highways, railroads, waterways, and pipelines.
Chemical manufacturers are one source of hazardous materials, but there are many others, including service stations, hospitals, and hazardous materials waste sites.

Varying quantities of hazardous materials are manufactured, used, or stored at an estimated 4.5 million facilities in the United States—from major industrial plants to local dry cleaning establishments or gardening supply stores.

Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons, and radioactive materials. These substances are most often released as a result of transportation accidents or because of chemical accidents in plants.

How can I protect myself from a hazardous materials incident?

What to do before a hazardous materials incident
What to do during a hazardous materials incident
What to do after a hazardous materials incident

Continue >>