Hazmat kits: How to use grants to secure funding
There is a wide range of hazmat and bio-detection kits on the market, with different potential sources of grant funding
By Steve Buckner
In this time of heightened alertness and an increase of unknown situations, there seems to be an increasing need for early detection of the risks and hazards that we may be responding to.
There are many situations that we all respond to every single shift, that if there were a threat to our safety it would be too late by the time we recognized it.
I think that we all get relaxed to a point and think that we will not be targets in our town, city, department, or state. This is probably wrong.
I believe that all locations should be taking this threat very seriously because there very well could be an attack where people least expect it.
I have been researching hazardous materials detection kits and, while they do have a price tag attached, they could be an invaluable tool when responding to an unknown situation.
There are also bio-chemical detection kits and if your agency cannot afford both, you would simply have to have a discussion which you think would be the most likely and frequently used.
Choosing the right kit
There are many kits available and the price range is wide.
There are hazmat kits available for $400 up to $1400. A couple of companies that offer these are Drager and Morphex Technologies Chameleon Kit. Both of these and many others are available through multiple vendors.
Then there are bio-chemical detection kits that, I believe, cost slightly more than the others.
One company offering the bio chemical detection kits is Idaho Technology. They can be found at www.idahotech.com/BioDefense.
With all of these kits, the prices vary based on the number of different materials or chemicals that they detect.
I am only certified to the HazMat Operations level and do not pretend to know more than what I have read in these product descriptions.
If you search for these kits, you will find a variety of links to vendors and sites.
From what I have read, some of these kits can be used in the "hot zone" to determine the threat level in less than 30 minutes and have the potential to save valuable time and resources on many incidents.
Sources of funding
As far as funding, there are many potential sources.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant just opened up and this could be funded as equipment for any fire department or first responding agency.
If you had other plans with an AFG application, there are other options.
I recently wrote an article on ASPR funding and these kits could qualify for that grant when it becomes available.
For more on ASPR grants and links to official websites, you can refer to www.emsgrantshelp.com/Columnists/Grants-for-EMS/articles/909614How-to-secure-ASPR-grant-funding.
There are also state level "emergency preparedness" programs that would most likely, at least partially, fund a project like this.
Even a large corporation might be willing to fund this with one of their grant programs.
When a corporation funds a project that has to do with emergency preparedness, it gives the local community valuable equipment, but also gives that corporation excellent publicity.
These tools could be a very valuable asset and even could be shared with any mutual aid departments that your agency has agreements with.
This could bring the cost down to a manageable number and also could benefit multiple agencies.