Home Interviews THMG047 – Interview with Dave DeGregorio, Director of Massachusetts Hazmat

THMG047 – Interview with Dave DeGregorio, Director of Massachusetts Hazmat


In this interview with the newly minted Director of Massachusetts Hazmat Dave DeGregorio, we discuss what it’s like to lead one of the nation’s largest and busiest hazmat assets.

Complete Show Notes

4:35 Introduction to Dave DeGregorio

  • Previously the Deputy Director for the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services in hazmat for 2 years
  • Spent 32 years in the military working with the civil support team – CST off and on for 10-plus years
  • Held 3 different positions as a medic before becoming deputy director
  • Worked with hazmat teams throughout his time on the CST, so he knows the hazmat world well
  • In command of 270 guys in 6 districts with 21 vehicles

5:40 Hazmat Vehicles

  • 3 different kinds of vehicles
    • TOM (technical operations module) – science vehicle used for research (9 of these throughout the state)
    • ORU (operational response units) – carries decon equipment, meters, etc. (11 of these throughout the state)
    • Squads – mini-TOMs that can get into smaller areas
  • Not every district has the same number of vehicles
  • Vehicles are set up almost identically, so it’s easy for the techs to move between TOMs and ORUs

7:00 Massachusetts’ Hazmat Specialty Teams

  • Joint hazard incident response (JHIR) team – works directly with bomb squads to help identify hazards
  • Maritime response team – trained specifically for hazmat on the water
  • Technical support unit (TSU) – run the computers and other high-tech stuff

8:25 Dave’s “Oh Crap” Moment

  • Forgot to lock the vehicle he was driving – everything flew out of it in front of tons of people at the DNC
  • Now, he always checks to make everything is locked and in its place before driving away

9:50 Where Dave Sees Hazmat in 10 Years

  • Thinks 9/11 totally changed hazmat – emphasis is placed heavily on terrorism and working with the police and government agencies
  • Technology will continue to involve and become more user-friendly, but the basics will never lose importance

13:15 Dave’s Goals for Massachusetts Hazmat

  • Back to basics – making sure skills are still taught on the operations level no matter your role in the department
  • Continuing outreach – letting the community know what they can and can’t do and being proactive to improve everyday operations

17:30 Dave’s Favorite Meters

  • Meter: Four-gas
  • Non-meter: pH paper

18:20 Top 3 Mistakes Hazmat Teams Make

  • All of these have to do with getting back to basics
  • Mistake 1: not using clipboards and checklists
  • Mistake 2: not using whiteboards
  • Mistake 3: not communicating properly

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