The image that comes to mind for hazardous materials might be a broken barrel with radioactive glowing green goo coming out of it, but the reality is hazardous materials can be household chemicals; they are everywhere and can pose a threat to the public’s safety and health if a container is breached or if materials are not handled according to regulations.
Dean of Fort Riley Technical Education and Military Outreach Training for Barton Community College Kurt Teal’s umbrella encompasses the college’s Hazardous Materials Management training programs.
“Hazardous materials can be a danger to individuals and society as a whole, so having a well-trained contingent of professionals to mitigate those risks is important for the health of the public,” he said. “It is our responsibility to make sure hazardous material handlers are well trained to keep others safe. It’s also up to us to make sure they have a respect for the dangers involved and are trained to go about their jobs in a way that ensures their own safety. We do not take that responsibility lightly.”
Barton’s offerings may not be in obvious public view all the time, but they have impacted the safety of communities and organizations throughout Kansas. Many utilize the 40-hour initial training to earn their certification, and the annual eight-hour refresher courses to maintain it.
City of Olathe Household Hazardous Waste Specialist Steve Davis has attended Barton’s refresher course eight times. He said the instructors keep him coming back to Barton as his training center of choice.
“I like the professionalism of the instructors,” he said. “They know their material front to back, but they also let the students have enough room to make their own decisions and mistakes so they can see where they went wrong at the end of a scenario. I think it’s a good program. There are other options for us to do our refresher, but we always come back here. We prefer Barton.”
Bei Huang is a Geology Specialist with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Her specialty is working with environmental remediation, namely contaminated groundwater. She recently attended the 40-hour training for the first time.
“I was kind of scared,” she said. I have never experienced this kind of training, so I was scared about wearing the suits and wearing the tank and respirators. It turns out it’s not that difficult or scary.”
The equipment and facilities are state of the art, but it’s the people, Huang said, that make the experience top notch.
“The teacher is very knowledgeable and the assistants are quite helpful,” she said. “We have very clear direction I feel like we’ll be ready.”
The next Hazwoper 40-hour training course is set for April 30 through May 4 in Grandview Plaza. Cost for the course, including books and an equipment fee, is $419. Members of the public are invited to enroll to gain certification in pursuit of employment in the field of Hazardous Materials Management.
Visit bartonhazmat.org or call 886-771-0255 for more information.