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Wednesday, Nov 21, 2018

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Students in hazardous materials jumpsuits and hoods assess a suspected chemical spill during a critical incident response scenario Friday at the Collins Career Technical Center.

Students in hazardous materials jumpsuits and hoods assess a suspected chemical spill during a critical incident response scenario Friday at the Collins Career Technical Center.

Instructor Charlie Hammonds commands a hazardous incident response scenario for students at the Collins Career Technical Center.

Instructor Charlie Hammonds commands a hazardous incident response scenario for students at the Collins Career Technical Center. The simulation featured training equipment from a partnership with Ohio University Southern.

Collins Career Technical Center students undergo a mock “decontamination” as part of Friday’s “No Hazards Here” critical incident safety simulation, a capstone project in collaboration with Ohio University Southern.

Collins Career Technical Center students undergo a mock “decontamination” as part of Friday’s “No Hazards Here” critical incident safety simulation, a capstone project in collaboration with Ohio University Southern.

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Southern Campus collaborates for hands-on hazmat learning with Collins Career Technical Center


GETAWAY, Ohio – Students from Collins Career Technical Center (CCTC) peered from a wrecked school bus window Friday as their driver slumped against the steering wheel. A curious substance seeped from two large barrels that had fallen off of a pickup, which had crashed into the rear of the bus. The truck’s driver and passenger appeared to be unconscious inside the cab while a second passenger was ejected from the vehicle and lay in the street.

No one was hurt as this was a simulation exercise by the center as part of the “No Hazards Here” project experience to culminate students’ learning this spring semester. Area law enforcement, fire department, emergency medical services and other organizations provided more real-life aspects to the training exercise as they rushed onto the staged scene with sirens blazing and wearing their own rescue gear.

Charlie Hammonds, instructor for forensic science at CCTC, spearheaded the simulation exercise, which involved faculty and students in multiple fields of study in the Center’s high school program. The exercise is a collaboration with the Environmental Health and Safety Mobile Training Unit of Ohio University Southern.

“The incident showcased their skills in Forensic Science, State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA), Practical Nursing (PN), and the Health Science programs (phlebotomy and electrocardiography),” said Hammonds. The programs have been working on preparing for the critical incident for the past several weeks. The project, titled “No Hazards Here,” focused on emergency response to a hazardous situation. “It challenged our students with real-life scenarios which need to be resolved,” Hammonds said.

The Career Technical Center utilized the Environmental Health and Safety Mobile Training Unit on loan from Ohio University Southern to bring professional grade equipment into the training simulation for the students. The forensics students donned respirators and personal protective equipment, including full-body suits and hoods, boots, gloves and other gear as they moved the “accident victims” from the bus, taking care to put them through on-site hazmat showers before moving them to a triage area where they were assessed by the health science and nursing students.

Collins faculty have been utilizing the Environmental Health and Safety Training Unit most of the spring semester, working with students in the various programs in project-based, hands-on learning.

“The Southern Campus is thrilled to be able to provide the mobile training unit for use by the students who are interested in careers in health, safety, emergency response and law enforcement,” said Dean Nicole Pennington. “We want to partner whenever possible with our public schools to enhance training opportunities for students.” 

The mobile unit was funded in 2016 by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivery Skills (RAPIDS) initiative as a consortium grant that includes Ohio University Southern, Shawnee State University, Rio Grande University / Rio Grande Community College and Southern State Community College. 

The Environmental Health and Safety trailer has been used in classroom curriculum and training for nearly 60 students at the Southern Campus. Collins Career Technical Center has used the equipment with 49 students, including nearly 30 students who have each earned their HAZWOPER Certifications in Awareness and ICS (Incident Command Systems 100). Twenty-two students have earned their HAZWOPER Technician Certification this spring. Work to certify the students in NIMS 700, or National Incident Management System, is in process, Hammonds said.

The Mobile Unit is available for use by industry in the area that may need HAZWOPER refresher or other critical incident response training. For more information, contact Ohio University Southern Workforce Success at 740-533-4593.

Sarah Diamond Burroway is the director of external relations at Ohio University Southern, and Michael Gleichauf is the PR coordinator at Collins Career Technical Center.