TEMA, TFACA Advance Hazardous Materials Certification Options for Tennessee Responders

Thursday, June 27, 2019 | 09:12am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee emergency managers, firefighters, and first responders now have expanded certification and training options in hazardous materials response through a new agreement between the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy (TFACA).

The TEMA and TFACA agreement allows emergency responders to take hazardous materials certification courses through either agency and receive reciprocal certification recognition. This will allow emergency responders to be part of a hazardous materials operations response team and qualify for training as a hazardous materials technician.

“Through this agreement, Tennessee’s firefighters and emergency responders now have a streamlined training option that will equip them with the knowledge needed in situations involving hazardous materials,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Interim Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Carter Lawrence.  “This agreement helps ensure first responders are being taught consistent, relevant information to help better protect their communities across Tennessee.”

Both TEMA and TFACA will submit their hazardous material course curricula to the Tennessee Firefighting Personnel Standards and Education Commission to demonstrate the training requirements meet federal standards.  Both agencies will maintain emergency responder training records and make those records available to each other to ensure certification continuity.

“Tennessee has a history, going back to the Waverly train disaster of 1978, of leading the nation in hazardous materials response and training,” said TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan. “TEMA’s partnership with TFACA builds on this tradition and more importantly, allows emergency responders to better serve Tennesseans in life-threatening situations involving hazardous materials.”

Prior to this agreement, TEMA and TFACA only provided hazardous materials training credit for courses delivered within each organization.  Now, training will be standardized to meet the requirements of each agency toward helping emergency responders receive hazardous materials certification.

“With the new agreement, hazardous materials training courses will be accepted by both TEMA and TFACA, and the duplication of record-keeping and tracking will be minimized,” said Joe Kennedy, a TEMA hazardous materials specialist.  “This will help us avoid instances where an emergency responder takes a required course at TFACA but TEMA can’t credit the course in our records because training reciprocity wasn’t in place between the two agencies.”

Emergency responders with questions about hazardous materials training should work through their internal training coordinator for their agencies and departments.