Members of UC San Diego's Hazardous Material Response Team include (left to right) Corey Singleton, Sasha Gardner, Caitlin Allen, Jennifer Woods, and Oliver Fajardo.
For the second year in a row, UC San Diego’s Hazardous Material Response Team has won the right to call itself the best in the county. The team competed and triumphed recently in the “Hazcat,” an annual competition hosted by the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health’s Hazardous Materials Division.
Short for Hazardous Categorization, the Hazcat competition consists of identifying an unknown chemical using a field identification kit. Successful identification of unknown materials requires knowledge of what to look for and a sense of what to expect. The UC San Diego team successfully competed against eight other agencies’ hazmat teams including those from the County of San Diego; San Diego Fire-Rescue Department; Tijuana Fire Department; Escondido Fire Department; Caltrans; Marine Corps Air Station Miramar; Commander, Navy Region Southwest; and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
The UC San Diego team consisted of: Sasha Gardner, biosafety specialist; Jennifer Woods, off-site facility coordinator; Corey Singleton, radiation safety officer; Oliver Fajardo, hazmat technician; and Caitlin Allen, hazardous materials business plan senior technician. Principal field chemist Mark Gonzales and hazmat technician Kelvin Huang served as coaches.
All team members are part of the university’s Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) department, which is dedicated to the reduction of risks within the UC San Diego community. EH&S oversees areas including emergency services, environmental affairs, fire and life safety, general safety, occupational health and hygiene services, radiation safety, research safety, risk management, safety training program and workers’ compensation.
“Our team did an outstanding job in the Hazcat,” said Garry MacPherson, director of EH&S. “All the teams were extremely competitive and represent some of the county’s brightest minds when it comes to responding to hazardous materials incidents.”
Not ones to rest on their laurels, UC San Diego team members are working towards a “three-peat” in 2014.
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