Michigan HazMat Teams Prepare for Hazardous Material Threats

LANSING, MICH. To learn how to better prepare for chemical disasters, hazmat teams from across the state are assembling with local emergency managers and other first responders for the second annual Michigan State Police (MSP) Michigan HazMat Responder Conference at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, from April 17 – 19. 

“Dealing with hazardous materials is a dangerous job,” said Capt. Kevin Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and commander of the MSP/Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (EMHSD). “Our goal in bringing these teams together is to enhance capabilities across the state to respond effectively and safely to all hazmat incidents.”                                                                                                                      

The need for HazMat team training and coordination was demonstrated on a large scale in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula last fall. On Oct. 6, 2022, an industrial fire sparked at a paper plant and a neighboring warehouse on the Menominee River in the city of Menominee. Multiple local teams worked together to successfully contain toxic chemicals, protect the local drinking water supply, and keep residents informed.

“Responding to railroad incidents is an important topic this year,” Captain Sweeney said. “There is no doubt that rail safety and the ability to respond to hazmat situations involving trains are at the forefront for us now and will continue to be well into the future.”

The MSP offers resources and training through the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Training Center located in Dimondale, Mich. Its programs focus on hazardous materials response, offering classroom and hands-on training for first responders and the private sector. This conference is designed to be an extension of the training center.

For more information on how to prepare before, during, and after an emergency or disaster, visit www.michigan.gov/miready or follow MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.

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