Hazardous Materials - First Responder

I.     Course Prefix/Number: FIR 131

       Course Name: Hazardous Materials - First Responder

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

The course offers an operational level component and application of hazardous materials. Content includes identification and classification of hazardous materials, physical and chemical properties of hazardous materials, planning, mitigation, and response to hazardous materials incidents. The course utilizes the analysis of case history and the application of learned principles to simulated exercises.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes: 
Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe terminology and principles for Hazardous Material incidents.
  2. Describe the Incident Management System and function of the different branches.
  3. Identify Federal, State and local agencies requirements and standards for Hazardous Materials.
  4. Describe protective equipment and measures to be taken during a hazardous material incident.
  5. Describe the Department of Transportation (DOT) marking, placarding and labeling of products.

Performance Objectives:
Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. List the key regulatory standards that affect the management of hazardous materials.
  2. Describe the following toxicological principles: exposure, toxicity, contamination, dose/response relationship, routes of exposure, chronic/acute exposure.
  3. Describe the following toxicological terms and describe their significance: parts per million (ppm), lethal dose (LD50), lethal concentration (LC50), threshold limit value-time weighted average (TLV/TWA), and threshold limit value-ceiling (TLV/C).
  4. Identify the key element of the Incident Management System necessary to coordinate response activities at a hazardous materials incident.
  5. Identify and describe the duties and functions of the Hazardous Materials (HM) Branch within the Incident Management System.
  6. Identify the guidelines for the safe approach and positioning of response personnel at a HM incident.
  7. Identify the procedures required to protect the public at a HM incident.
  8. Describe the role of security and law enforcement officers at a HM incident.
  9. Identify the procedures for establishing scene control using control zones.
  10. Explain the difference between evacuation and protect-in-place.
  11. List and describe the basic methods of identifying hazardous materials.
  12. Identify the basic design and construction features of bulk packages, non-bulk packages, and storage vessels.
  13. Identify each of the railroad tank cars and Intermodal tank containers by type.
  14. Describe the specialized marking systems found at fixed facilities.
  15. Describe the Department of Transportation (DOT) specification markings for non-bulk and bulk packaging.
  16. Identify and describe placards, labels, markings, and shipping documents used for the transportation of hazardous materials.
  17. Describe the concept of hazard assessment and risk evaluation.
  18. Identify the types of hazard and response information available from each of the following resources and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each resource: reference manuals, technical information centers, safety data sheets (SDS), monitoring instruments.
  19. Define the following terms and their impact and significance on the selection of chemical protective clothing: degradation, penetration, permeation, breakthrough time, permeation rate.
  20. Identify the process and factors considered in selecting the proper level of protective clothing and respiratory protection at a HM incident.
  21. Describe the advantages, limitations, and proper use of different types of protective clothing and respiratory protection at a HM incident.
  22. Define the terms: strategic goals and tactical goals.
  23. Identify and describe the application, advantages, and limitations of the following methods of spill control: absorption, adsorption, covering, damming, diking, dilution, diversion, dispersion, retention, vapor suppression.
  24. Define and describe the difference between direct contamination and cross contamination.
  25. State the general conditions that require an emergency decontamination.
  26. Describe the stations in the decontamination sequence for conducting field decontamination.
  27. Describe the importance of a post-incident analysis of a HM incident.
  28. Identify the regulatory reporting requirements of federal, state, and local agencies.

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
  • Problem of Hazardous Materials
  • Terminology and Regulations
  • Risk Assessment
  • Hazard Assessment
  • Hazard Identification
  • Emergency Response Planning
  • Hazard Control
  • Incident Management
  • Managing the Incident
  • Site Management and Control
    • Establishing command
    • Approach and positioning
    • Isolation procedures
    • Hazard control zones
  • Evacuation and isolation-in-place
  • Recognition and Identification
    • Methods and procedures
    • Reference sources
  • Termination
  • Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment
    • Basic principles
    • Level of protective clothing
    • Implementing Response Objectives
    • Basic principles
  • Goals and objectives
  • Spill and leak control and containment
  • Special tactical problems
  • Decontamination
  • Decontamination methods
  • Clean-up
  • Terminating the incident
  • Exercises

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  • Lectures
  • Handouts
  • Videos
  • Case Histories
  • Scenarios
  • Class Discussion
  • Group Discussion
  • Individual Presentations

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

VIII. Course Practices Required

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Using References
  • Decision Making
  • Group Participation
  • Class Discussion
  • Practical Exercises
  • Individual Presentations

IX.   Instructional Materials

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

Required TextHazardous Materials Managing the Incident, Hildebrand, Noll, Rudner, and Schnepp, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Fourth Edition, 2014.  ISBN: 978-1-4496-7084-9

Required Student Workbook:

Hazardous Materials Managing the Incident, Student Workbook, Hildebrand, Noll, Rudner, and Schnepp, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Fourth Edition, 2014.  ISBN: 978-1-4496-8829-5

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Evaluation: Practical Skills, Discussion & Participation 10 points
Research paper 20 points
Quizzes 20 points
Homework 10 points
Mid-Term 15 points
Final Exam 25 points
100 points
Grading Scale: 100 – 90 A
89 – 80 B
79 – 70 C
69 – 60 D
59 & Below F

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 www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

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.