Navy Supply Corps School Gets “Hands-on” in HAZMAT Course

BY LT. CMDR. ADAM HAMILTON, SC, USN, NAVY SUPPLY CORPS SCHOOL

A recurring theme at the Navy Supply Corps School (NSCS) among today’s students is a demand for more hands-on learning opportunities to better prepare them for fleet duty. NSCS is keeping pace with this demand signal.

Throughout the Basic Qualification Course (BQC), students gain a wide variety of hands-on learning experiences through mock-up practical exercises, Navy Cash® simulation, and scenario-based training to name a few. Supply Officer Department Head Course (SODHC) students, in addition to extensive mock-up exposure, thirst for more advanced in-class, practical exercises and scenarios that they will likely encounter in the fleet as department heads. Indeed, the majority of today’s students, across all curriculums, prefer a kinesthetic learning methodology over lecture-based slides. Our Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) students are no different.

NSCS Commanding Officer Capt. Doug Noble and HAZMAT instructors Ray Peterson (middle) and Richard Kaley officially open the HAZMAT packaging lab for business.

NSCS Commanding Officer Capt. Doug Noble and HAZMAT instructors Ray Peterson (middle) and Richard Kaley officially open the HAZMAT packaging lab for business.

 

In the past, a typical HAZMAT class consisted of primarily lectures and trainee guides with limited practical application. HAZMAT student feedback echoed a consistent theme – the opportunity for hands-on packaging of HAZMAT for transportation. On Dec. 8, NSCS Commanding Officer Capt. Doug Noble christened a new HAZMAT packaging lab with a ribbon-cutting ceremony – NSCS’s latest innovative effort toward allowing students to learn by doing. With two full resident HAZMAT courses, it was the perfect opportunity to formally open the lab and recognize instructors’ hard work in planning and implementation. For the past several months, HAZMAT instructors Ray Peterson and Richard Kaley carefully designed the layout of the lab and identified and procured the necessary materials to bring it to life. Utilizing a portion of a large storeroom, the instructors created five full-size packaging stations for students to apply classroom lessons.

During a typical lab, students are provided with HAZMAT to prepare for transportation. To support a more low-risk training environment, innocuous materials are substituted for actual HAZMAT. The students used a lab computer to access the Department of Defense (DoD) Hazardous Materials Information Resource System to obtain the applicable Safety Data Sheets to amplify the
material’s properties and instructions for storage, handling and ultimately, transportation. Students undergo the complete process of packaging and labeling material for shipment, including weighing HAZMAT on a scale. In the end, the students debrief the class on their experience in documenting, packaging, marking and labeling their particular material.

The end result is a practical lab for students to gain a hands-on and visual experience before leaving the classroom and becoming certified to transport HAZMAT for the DoD. During the opening, Noble noted that, “the HAZMAT packaging lab is another great example of creating opportunities for students to learn by doing. I’m proud that my instructor team recognized the overwhelming student feedback trend of desiring hands-on practical learning and then took the initiative to address the feedback through the creation of a lab.”

HAZMAT instructor Richard Kaley explains how HAZMAT students will use the lab. The lab consists of five separate work stations where groups of students can simultaneously work together to certify HAZMAT for transport.

HAZMAT instructor Richard Kaley explains how HAZMAT students will use the lab. The lab consists of five separate work stations where groups of students can simultaneously work together to certify HAZMAT for transport.

 

The HAZMAT packaging lab is the latest example of hands-on exercises NSCS instructors have in their training toolbox. The schoolhouse will continue to work with the Center for Service Support to identify existing training objectives where kinesthetic learning opportunities can be applied. Preparing students for the fleet is NSCS’s primary tasking, and allowing students to get “hands-on” experience is critical to its mission.

The Transportation of HAZMAT course provides a formal training prerequisite for command-approved qualification to certify HAZMAT for shipment via all modes of transportation. The course includes a comprehensive overview of the transportation of HAZMAT by highway, rail and water, along with an intensive review of the requirements for movement of HAZMAT by commercial and military air. Included are the roles and missions of the Department of Transportation, Defense Transportation System, and commercial carriers. The course reviews the national, state, and local regulations for storage (incident to transportation), handling, packaging, marking, labeling, and placarding of HAZMAT. Qualification attained is effective for 24 months, after which additional certification or re-certification is required. Personnel eligible: uniformed personnel of the U.S. Armed Forces, DoD civil service personnel, and eligible DoD civilian contractors. The course is designed only for those personnel who must certify HAZMAT for shipment.

March/April 2017