EMS SystemNFPA 472:

Should EMS Systems Take A Look?


Ask yourself, “What’s the difference between responding to a ‘typical’ hazardous materials event and a potential scenario involving a weapon of mass destruction?” To many in the business, there is no difference and EMS systems should plan for one just as the do the other.


For last several years, grant funding and emergency response planning efforts have focused on the intentional release or purpose-driven attack using chemical and biological weapons. It has driven the thought process in a direction of planning for the worst case scenario while potentially overshadowing the most-likely scenario. The role EMS systems play in an accidental release of a hazardous materials event or an intentional act against their community has continued to evolve over time, causing each to evaluate their capabilities in the areas of response and mitigation of the same. In doing so, several standards and regulations must be researched and analyzed to ensure proper training and education of affected staff is in place.


To learn more about the new focus EMS systems should have on such planning efforts, read the article, “Using NFPA 472 to develop a Competency-Based Hazmat/WMD Emergency Responder Training Program.” by Gregory G. Noll, CSP, CHMM. The article may be found


By considering the origin of NFPA 472, EMS systems can begin to plan and integrate their operating guidelines with those of their partner agencies as they develop a comprehensive program that focuses on an all-hazards approach.