Hazardous Materials Emergency Response division (HazMat) coordinates six regional HazMat teams which are strategically located to be able to respond anywhere in the state in less than 1 hour. The teams support local fire departments with technical information, expertise, and specialized equipment. The program was originally created to respond to industrial or transportation incidents like a tanker truck roller over or a manufacturing incident involving chemicals. A HazMat incident can also be a broken mercury thermometer, unintentional mix of drain cleaners (do not mix ammonia and bleach based products) or pool chemicals. A team can be requested for suspicious powder calls, to assess possible clandestine laboratory situations, and to initiate the multi-agency Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Team (CLET).
Residents should call 9-1-1 immediately and move away from the chemicals. Only fire departments can Activate a DFS HazMat Response
Typical HazMat incidents are categorized by tier based on the required level of response. All teams work at the request of and under the command of the local incident commander.
- JHIRT – Joint Hazard Incident Response Team – Contained Suspicious Powder Calls,
Assessment of Clandestine Laboratories, and/or Activation of
Clandestine Lab Enforcement Team (CLET)
- Tier 1 – Hazardous & Risk Assessment – Suspicious Substances, Open or Loose Suspicious Powders
- Tier 2 – Short Term Operation – Limited Release
- Tier 3 – Long Term Operation – Full Team – Large Release
- Tier 4 – Multi District Response – Multi-Operational Period
- Tier 5 – WMD/Mass Contamination – Full System (6 teams) Response
The HazMat division has additional capabilities:
Joint Hazard Incident Response Team - JHIRT is made up of cross-trained hazmat technicians and State Police bomb technicians for responding to situations where an explosion involving chemicals is possible. The JHIRT can be requested for suspicious powder calls, to assess possible clandestine laboratory situations, and to initiate the multi-agency Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Team (CLET).
Maritime Incident Response Team - MIRT was developed after a fisherman captured a mustard gas canister in his trawler and was severely injured. This team can respond to HazMat incidents on boats off-shore and on waterways.
Fire Ground Air Monitoring - FGAM can provide vital information to the incident commander to best protect firefighters on scene and any nearby vulnerable populations.