Chemistry of Hazardous Materials

I.     Course Prefix/Number: FIR 130

       Course Name: Chemistry of Hazardous Materials

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

This course offers a review of elementary chemistry and studies the properties of hazardous materials including flammable and combustible liquids, compressed gases, flammable solids, cryogenic gases, oxidizers, water reactive chemicals, corrosive chemicals, toxic materials and radioactive materials; storage, handling and fire suppression techniques of potentially hazardous materials.

IV.   Learning Objectives

This course will define and describe elementary chemistry and the properties of hazardous chemicals. The student will discuss, explain, and classify chemistry of hazardous materials; chemical compounds; covalent bonding; hydrocarbons; hydrocarbon derivatives; fire and pyrolysis; flammable and combustible liquids; compressed gases; flammable solids; cryogenic gases; oxidizing agents; plastics; corrosives; unstable materials such as organic peroxides and monomers; toxicity; radioactivity; explosives; water and air-reactive materials; chemical warfare agents; and weapons of mass destruction.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  • Introduction, trends, and issues in the fire service
  • Chemistry of hazardous materials
  • Compounds
  • Covalent bonding
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Hydrocarbon derivatives
  • Fire and pyrolysis
  • Toxicity
  • Flammable and combustible
  • Liquids
  • Compressed gases
  • Cryogenic gases
  • Flammable solids
  • Plastics
  • Water and air-reactive materials
  • Oxidizing agents
  • Unstable materials: organic peroxides and monomers
  • Explosives & corrosives
  • Radioactivity & chemical warfare

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  • Lectures
  • Handouts
  • Video/PowerPoint
  • Case Study
  • Scenarios
  • Class Discussion
  • Group Discussion
  • Table top exercises

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Using References
  • Group Participation
  • Class Discussion
  • Practical Exercises

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Required Text:

The Common Sense Approach to Hazardous Materials, Fire Sr., Frank L., Third Edition, PennWell. ISBN10 1-59370-194-2

Chemistry of Hazardous Materials, 6th Edition, By Eugene Meyer, 2013 ISBN-13: 978-0-13-341923-8

Hazardous Materials: Managing the Incident, Noll, Gregory G., Hildebrand, Michael S., Rudner, Glen., Schnepp, Rob. Fourth Edition, IFSTA, 2014. ISBN-13: 9781449670849.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress


Homework 05 points
Quizzes 20 points
Exam #1 25 points
Exam #2 25 points
Exam #3 25 points
Essay (extra credit) 05 Points
TOTAL 105 Points

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.