More than 400 response personnel from 12 states participated in the 7th Annual HotZone Hazardous Materials Conference held Oct. 13-16 in Houston. The goal of the conference is to train and equip local, state and federal responders for safe, coordinated and efficient response to releases of hazardous materials which threaten public health and the environment.
Participants represented fire and rescue departments, hazardous materials teams, law enforcement, National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard and numerous state and federal entities. The conference targets personnel and agencies within Federal Region 6, which includes New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.
Speakers came from across the U.S. and Canada to provide information on the many challenges that personnel face in successfully mitigating a hazardous materials or WMD incident. The keynote address was provided by Mr. Offer Baruch, formerly with the Israeli Security Service & Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Kirk Richardson of the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) conducted a workshop session on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fire and emergency response. Other TEEX participants included Gordon Lohmeyer, Rick Isaacks, and Mike Wisby, who provided coordination and support for the conference.
The HotZone conference focuses on bringing together municipal and industrial fire / response personnel with hazmat responsibilities but also seeks to educate and equip other local, State, and Federal agency personnel who play an integral role in unified command at the scene.
Funding to offset the cost of the conference is provided jointly from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Partial and full scholarships are available to Region 6 personnel.