COLLEGE STATION – The TEEX HazMat Emergency Response Training Program had a problem. The hazmat suits used by students week after week were not holding up to repeated wear and washing. The suits were just inadequate for the extreme hazmat training environment for emergency response, says Elizabeth Morris, HazMat Program Manager with TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute, a division of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).
The hazmat training team had ideas about how to make the suits more durable, but who could they get to implement their suggestions? After contacting five vendors with their list of requirements, Morris, Jessie Terry, Derrick Booth and Ulises Penalver turned to Kappler for help.
They worked with Kappler to design and develop a more durable hazmat suit to meet the heavy usage and cleaning requirements for TEEX training. The Guntersville, AL, company delivered the first prototype to Brayton Fire Training Field within two weeks. After testing the new suit, TEEX provided feedback to Kappler’s product development team, who soon sent the second prototype.
After working with TEEX on the new prototypes, Kappler decided to discontinue the company’s previous training hazmat suit design in favor of the new TEEX design. The “TEEX” suit is more like an actual hazmat response suit, looks good and is more durable. One of Kappler’s first customers for the new suit was, of course, TEEX.
Now 300 new Kappler hazmat suits are in use for hazmat training at Brayton Fire Training Field. “We now have a durable, effective suit that exceeds our training requirements and provides a realistic experience for our customers, while providing a significant cost savings,” Morris said.
Mark Ellis of Kappler commented: “Kappler really appreciates the opportunity to work with TEEX to build one of the most important tools your customer must wear while going through training. The experience Kappler has gained on this project will help us moving forward as we continue to strive to provide the best American-made chemical protection for all HazMat responders.”
About Brayton Fire Training Field
Brayton Fire Training Field is one of the world’s largest live-fire training facilities and includes some of the largest and most realistic fire training props anywhere. Students can receive hands-on training on a loading terminal, process unit, chemical complex, aerial cooler, aircraft, ship, and more. Rescue props include those designed for confined space and high-angle rescue, as well as towers and even a passenger train. Hazardous materials training includes a hazmat chemical complex, tanker cars, and 2,300-foot underground pipeline training prop with eight above-ground training stations.