2015 National HazMat Challenge


hazmat challengeHazardous materials response teams from New Mexico, Missouri and Nebraska tested their skills last week in a series of graded, timed exercises at the 19th annual Hazmat Challenge at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The challenge provides hazardous materials responders the opportunity to test their skills, share best practices with other response agencies, and learn new techniques through realistic hazardous materials release scenarios in a safe, non-hazardous environment.

Chris Rittner of LANL’s Security and Emergency Operations Division explained that the challenge provides hazardous materials responders the opportunity to test their skills, share best practices with other response agencies, and learn new techniques through realistic hazardous materials release scenarios in a safe, non-hazardous environment.

Held at Los Alamos’ Technical Areas 16 and 49 through last Friday, the event required participants to respond to simulated hazardous materials emergencies involving an aircraft, clandestine laboratories, various modes of transportation, industrial piping scenarios, a simulated radiological release and a confined space event.

The finale of the Hazmat Challenge was a skills-based obstacle course; teams were graded and earned points based on their ability to perform response skills through a 10-station obstacle course while using fully encapsulating personal protective equipment.

The Laboratory began the Hazmat Challenge in 1996 as a way to hone the skills of its own hazmat team members. The event now offers a training opportunity in a competitive format that is open to all hazardous materials response teams in New Mexico and across the nation.