CVSA Guardian 3rd Quarter 2010

Page 21

Guardian C








COHMED Not Just For HazMat Geeks By Tpr. Rex Railsback, Kansas Highway Patrol

If you regulate, teach, ship, carry, or enforce hazardous materials in transportation, then COHMED is for you. You don’t have to be a HazMat geek to get the most out of what COHMED has to offer, but beware — after attending just one COHMED conference you might want to reconsider and just give in and become a HazMat geek. COHMED has been around for quite awhile, spanning three decades, and yet our purpose and goal of Cooperative Hazardous Materials Enforcement Development is still our number one objective. Now you ask, what is ‘enforcement development’? Well, we look at it as the process of getting all the players involved in the safe transportation of hazardous materials on the same page by understanding the issues and hurdles that we all face during transportation and enforcement activities. By attending COHMED conferences, you have the opportunity to obtain some of the most up to date information in the hazardous materials community. You have the opportunity to speak with representatives of each of the modal regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Canada; including, FMCSA, PHMSA, TC, FAA, TSA, Coast Guard, and sometimes FRA. You have the opportunity to speak with representatives from industry to try and understand their particular industry or iron out issues you or your jurisdiction might be having. You can send two or three top hazardous materials trainers, who will have the chance to gain up to date training and information to take back and pass along to your other HazMat personnel. This relates to lots of training for a limited budget. All of this interaction and training between so many varied members of the hazardous materials community can pay off in multiple ways. One of those ways occurred on September 11, 2001, when representatives of the New York State Police were able to directly contact representatives of the packaged gas industry they had met during COHMED. They shaved hours off the time needed to coordinate the delivery of needed sup-

plies to the rescue efforts at Ground Zero. This is one of biggest ways that contacts made during COHMED have paid off. Every year, numerous issues are ironed out between enforcement, industry and regulators in a more economical way, due in part to contacts made at COHMED. COHMED is currently held in mid to late January and in the southern latitudes, not for the warmer climate, but to avoid the conference location being hit by a major snow or ice storm and causing numerous travel issues and the possibility of more time away from the office (although the warmer climate doesn’t hurt). COHMED 2011 will be held in the Tampa Bay, FL area from January 31st to February 4th. We tentatively have the following training planned for COHMED 2011: • Inspection of industrial and home medical use cylinders • U.S. / Canadian Safety Marks – Differences and Similarities • Class 7 (RAM) Packaging Standards • Batteries – All Kinds • Transportation of Non-Bulk Combustibles • IBC’s • Local Emergency Assistance Program (LEAP) • IAEA and the 49 CFR • Intro to ICAO • HazMat/DG transportation Chemistry for Dummies One attendee can’t make all sessions, so don’t miss out on anything by sending just one representative. The COHMED leadership is looking at several ways of keeping our cost down. We are looking at industry sponsorship, realigning conference events and possibly grant options. Our current leadership consists of a National Chair, National Vice Chair, two Canadian representatives, two industry representatives, and a Chair and Vice Chair, from each of our four U.S. regions. As you can see, by attending COHMED conferences you will be getting a rather large bang for your buck. You also might discover that being a HazMat geek isn’t as bad as it sounds.

Every year, numerous issues are ironed out between enforcement, industry and regulators in a more economical way, due in part to contacts made at COHMED.


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