As a member of Aiken County Hazmat in South Carolina and a volunteer firefighter, Michael Klecker took the Emergency Responder Hazardous Material Technician for CBRNE Incidents course at the Center for Domestic Preparedness to better serve in both capacities.
The course is a 40-hour-long, hands-on experience in the identification of hazardous materials, using equipment utilized for advanced survey, and monitoring and determining the use of personal protection equipment (PPE).
The training is meant for those in firefighting positions. If it were not for his time volunteering with the Eureka Volunteer Fire Department, Klecker would not have been able to attend.
“This course is the basis for any defensive action I will ever take, he said. "It is a very important class. Just talking with other members of the response community is beneficial. There is so much more you can soak up and learn. It is an incredible place and the expectations were high, for me, because of what I’ve heard; and it has surpassed what I expected."
Klecker used his vacation time from his full-time employer to take the course.
“If you practice like you play, on game day you will play well," he said. "For first responders, it is not a win or lose situation. It is potentially life or death.”