The HazMat Guys

In this episode, Bob talks to hazmat instructor Toby Bevelacqua about the past, present, and future of hazmat. They agree that shows like IAFC are a great opportunity to collaborate with our peers and expand our horizons.

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Complete Show Notes

1:10 Introduction to Toby Bevelacqua

  • 37 year veteran of the fire service – most in special operations and on the medical side
  • Worked at a lot of different departments and ended up in Orlando – retired 8 years ago as Chief of Special Operations

5:00 Hazmat in the Past

  • Training was on the job – thrown into the frying pan and you either sank or swam
  • Collaboration across the country really didn’t start until the early- and mid-1990s – really only happened on the local level
  • Weren’t too many books out there at the time – there were really only a few reference books available
  • This drove Toby to start writing since there were a lot of holes to fill – learned a lot as he moved through the ranks and wanted to get that info out there

10:45 Hazmat Today

  • You can’t put someone in a classroom setting and give them things to memorize – hands-on is still so important
  • People are asking “why” a lot less – asking questions is good, though, so we need more of this
  • You get the A Team at conferences – people really want to be there and want to learn and improve
  • Take good notes and bring handouts home to share with your other team members

21:15 The Future of Hazmat

  • More podcasts just like this one
  • Toby created a comic book called The Adventures of Hazmat Man
  • These things don’t replace actually talking to people face-to-face – instead, they supplement and enhance them
  • Virtual conferences are also coming down the pike – live or recorded – but Bob and Toby warn against this since it’s impersonal
  • Toby has also built six hazmat games that are ideal for instruction and training purposes

29:30 How to Contact Toby

Check out the following helpful links:

Have a question? Send an email to or leave a message on our Haz Mat Guys comment hotline: 843-628-1484

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