Combat Center troops certified to handle hazardous materials/waste

2 Mar 2006 | Lance Cpl. Regina N. Ortiz

All ranks were present to become nationally certified as a hazardous materials/waste handler at the annual three-day Defense Hazardous Waste Materials/Waste Handlers Course Tuesday through Thursday at the Combat Center. Diana Rasnick, an instructor at the U.S. Army Logistics Management College, travels from Fort Lee, Va., around the globe to give troops the opportunity to complete the course and earn another military occupational specialty qualification. Throughout the military, many jobs require the use of a variety of hazardous materials, so there has to be a certified hazardous material/waste handler aboard some units, said Rasnick.“It is required by law that there is someone continually trained to hold this billet in each unit that works with hazardous materials,” she said.The course began with a brief description of the role hazardous materials and waste have on the environment. There are environmental and health issues that arise if there is neglect to the proper disposal of such materials, said Rasnick.The course also covered pollution prevention of hazardous gases and vapors. Videos were played to give students a break from the textbook they had to read throughout the course, she explained.Laws, regulations and policies are some of the most important topics covered. There is prison time and large fines charged to someone who improperly handles hazardous waste and materials, Rasnick explained.Students also learned to identify and label hazardous materials, how to manage an accumulation of theses items and how to make a contingency plan.There was a quiz at the end of each class day on the material covered that day.The three-day course is the initial class of the training requirements of a certified hazardous materials/waste handler. Once certified, there is an annual refresher course provided by Rasnick as well, she said.Knowing how to properly handle hazardous materials and waste isn’t only important for those who work closely with these types of materials, but it also important for the average person. There are federal laws each state must abide by as well as state laws that are important for everybody to follow, said Rasnick.Batteries, cleaning products, paint and paint remover, automotive oils and fluids, fluorescent light bulbs, electronic devices and medical waste are among the common hazards in everyday life that are not allowed to be discarded into the trash.Community members living in the Combat Center housing area are required to take items to the red ‘Household Hazardous Waste’ bins at designated areas. For those who reside in the barracks, take items to the unit’s Satellite Accumulation Area, safely transport them to the Hazardous Waste Accumulation Area on Rifle Road, or contact the respective Environmental Compliance Coordinator. For those who live off base, hazardous materials and waste must be taken to the San Bernardino County Household Collection Point in Joshua Tree, according to the California Environmental Regulation. “There needs to be someone available everywhere to be fully aware of handling these types of materials,” Rasnick said. “I certify those people.”
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