ECBC develops new decontamination course with JPM-E

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center recently announced that it developed a new personnel decontamination station training course with the Joint Project Manager for Elimination.

ECBC equipment technicians and operators developed the course with the JPM-E to help personnel working at locations where chemical and biological agents are present to prevent the threat of serious injury or harm and learn decontamination safety measures.

"The training program is very comprehensive and uses the standard operating procedures from (ECBC's Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction) and the 20th Support Command's subordinate element, the (Chemical Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) Analytical and Remediation Activity," Chris Wilson, an industrial equipment mechanic for CBARR, said.

Wilson said the appropriate training is of extreme importance for personnel deployed on field operations, whether the individuals involved are new employees or veterans.

"Wearing gear like the mask and equipment is something that you get used to over time," Wilson said. "There are many people who have trouble getting acclimated to the weight of the suit. Some have trouble standing on one foot due to the oversized boots and you're wearing clothing that you normally wouldn't wear. It's restrictive and there's limited range of motion, which can cause dehydration and fatigue."

According to standards for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, chemical workers must learn new techniques and methodologies for reacting to hazards. The new PDS course was upgraded after a partnership with JPM-E turned an annual required course into a three-day program of hands-on exercises and classroom instruction.

"The new training program is great, especially for newcomers because the hands-on exercises require you to don the full PPE gear," Wilson said. "It gives you the actual feeling of being in the suit and mask as you simulate the entire 45-minute (decontamination) process."