Roadways and rail lines make the circulatory system of our society, delivering countless commodities and raw materials each day. These products often contain hazardous ingredients requiring special labeling, packaging, documentation and transport regulations. US and international law requires that those involved in the handling, transport and packaging of these materials receive certification in HAZMAT training. Similar training is also required for emergency responders. HAZMAT training has taken special prominence since the terrorist attacks of 2001. HAZMAT training is so important to emergency professionals because they are usually the first to arrive on the scene.

3 main types of HAZMAT training exist, including 49 CFR for domestic shipment, IATA for international air shipments, and IMDG for international ocean shipments. Ideally, training should be gotten in all 3 areas to be the most encompassing.

Know your materials
One of the first things to learn in HAZMAT training is what materials are hazardous in the first place. First responders need to be able to detect a hazardous material immediately to best move the response to the correct level. Knowing when to call in the specialists and when to take care of it yourself is critical. Some HAZMAT situations simply require a sprayed protective foam or a dry compound spread over spills, while others will require a team of specialists. Identifying hazardous substances is the first step.

Time frame
Employees handling hazardous materials must do HAZMAT training within 90 days of their employment start date. The training typically requires 3 to 4 business days for each mode of transport. IATA air training must be done every 2 years, while 49-CFR and IMDG certification need only be done every 3. A written exam is required to complete certification for each type of training.

Changing world
On the job, we are required to move as fast as the world changes. Whether you are a first responder or work with these materials every day, HAZMAT training is an important part of public safety, especially given the current nature of terrorism. Training should cover all areas to be best able to handle any situation, including online training in HAZMAT. In the end, your training comes down to protecting the community. When an accident involving hazardous materials happen, human lives as well as the environment are on the line. Be ready with the most up-to-date training available.