EOD Technicians earn uncommon certification

30 Jan 2014 | By Cpl. Timothy Norris

More than 20 Marines and civilians from various fields of work became Hazardous Materials Incident Commanders after completing the Incident Commander course aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Jan. 17.

The management level certification enables personnel to lead a team of first responders in an incident scene involving the exposure of hazardous materials.

"It benefits the Air Station because this is a civilian certification geared toward the fire department and Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting, but if they are out of commission or engaged elsewhere there are more people qualified to run the scene," said Master Sgt. Jason Chrjapin, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal staff non-commissioned officer in charge.

Several EOD technicians, including Chrjapin, attended the 40 hour training course among ARFF Marines, civilian firefighters, and other base personnel.

"It’s not normal for EOD technicians to go through this course," Chrjapin said, "but it prepares them for an all hazards approach when responding."

Participants are required to have attended a hazardous material operator or technician course to have a solid base of understanding for the commander course.

"The training provides strategies, to be used by command and general staff positions regarding the management and oversight of emergency response operations during a hazardous materials incident or a weapon of mass destruction terrorist threat," said Robert H. Grunmeier, the executive director of Public & Industrial Safety Training and Certification at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, Pa.

The course integrated exercises where participants assessed simulated response scenarios, developed strategies to support an incident action plan, and established a management structure to meet the demands of the incident.

"The difficult aspect is that the participants must complete their research projects, develop and complete their skills assignments, and study for the written exam," Grunmeier said.

In addition to the practical application process, participants must successfully pass seven skills tests and a 100 question written exam.

"The participants are tested through three learning domains: cognitive, psychomotor and effective," Grunmeier said. "In-class exercises challenge the participants’ ability to recognize, assess, and respond to conditions involving life-threatening situations. In addition, each participant is required to successfully complete a series of skill sets that involve written and verbal components."

At the end of the week-long course, each participant had successfully completed the requirements, making them hazardous materials incident commanders.

"The class was successful because of the partnerships and support of the management and participants representing MCAS Beaufort’s Emergency Response Community," Grunmeier concluded.