LANL sponsors annual Hazmat Challenge

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will sponsor the 18th annual Hazmat Challenge on July 29-August 1, an event which requires participants to respond to simulated hazardous materials emergencies.

Fourteen hazardous materials response teams from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri and New Mexico will compete in the Hazmat Challenge. The event will take place at Los Alamos' Technical Area 49, according to a LANL press release.

"The challenge provides hazardous materials responders the opportunity to test their skills, share best practices with other response agencies, and learn new techniques through realistic hazardous materials release scenarios in a safe, non-hazardous environment," Chris Rittner, a representative of LANL's Security and Emergency Operations Division, said.

The simulated emergencies include a clandestine laboratory, a rail car, industrial piping scenarios, multiple modes of transportation, a confined space event and a simulated radiological release. The finale of the event is a skills-based obstacle course during which teams use personal protective equipment.

LANL started the Hazmat Challenge in 1996 to improve the skills of its own hazmat team members. The event now provides a training opportunity open to all hazardous materials response teams across the nation. New Mexico teams are funded through federal grants via the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.