Hazmat Fusion Center web portal debuts for emergency responders
Jan 1, 2011 12:00 PM
Hazardous materials responders at Hotzone 2010 witnessed the recent launch of the National Hazardous Materials Fusion Center's web portal (Hazmat Fusion Center), www.hazmatfc.com, a responder-driven data collection, analysis, and education center. Representatives from US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) announced the portal's launch at the conference's general session.
The Internet-based portal marks a milestone in the broader hazmat community. It closes a historical gap in nationwide, hazmat-information sharing capabilities by providing responders with opportunity to both contribute to and access a suite of readily available resources. This free resource serves as a one-stop shop for hazmat-response information, including training packages, reports, incident-based case studies, statistics, trends, alerts, recommendations, and peer-to-peer networking.
The portal was designed with a consistent method of information collection to support information sharing across jurisdictions and levels of government and to support both individual and national-level needs. The secure incident reporting system is available for hazmat teams to enter, manage, and analyze their own incident reports while allowing the Hazmat Fusion Center to create a national picture of hazmat response and disseminate regional and national hazmat trends and statistics.
The portal is the central element of the Hazmat Fusion Center, a program established and supported through a cooperative agreement between PHMSA and IAFC. The program — which has adopted the tagline Responders Helping Responders — was created using a bottom-up building process based on the needs and the active input of the hazmat response community.
The Hazmat Fusion Center also includes the already-established Regional Incident Survey Teams (RIST) and an operations center in development. RIST members are local responders in each of the five PHMSA regions who have volunteered to be trained and dispatched after major incidents, at the request of the jurisdiction, to assist in collecting lessons learned and analysis of the event.
Emergency responders must register either an individual or agency user to access secure portions of the portal. Registered responders may view full RIST survey reports, smart practices and lessons learned and may participate in the hazmat discussion forum and bulletin boards. Agencies that respond to hazmat incidents may register to use the Hazmat Fusion Center's incident-reporting system. Registration is free.
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