The Charleston Fire Department HazMat Response team provides highly skilled and specialized response to chemical spills, Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents, clandestine laboratories, and other emergency calls that deal with hazardous materials. The team is a NIMS Type II Response team and meets the requirements of NFPA 472.
The team consists of 30 firefighters of varying ranks who are trained to the HazMat Technician and/or Specialist levels. Daily staffing normally consists of 10 team members on duty with a minimum of three members assigned to the HazMat response company, Engine 109. Each shift has a Battalion Chief that serves as the HazMat Shift Commander for their shift. HazMat Technician training is an 80-hour course conducted through the IAFF, while the Specialist training is normally conducted at specialized training sites throughout the United States. Shift commanders receive an additional six-day training course from the National Fire Academy in HazMat Incident Command. Fourteen members of the CFD HazMat team have also received training in WMD response and serve on the WMD/HazMat Regional Response Team-Charleston.
The CFD HazMat Team has advanced technology such as the Ahura First Defender and TruDefender to assist in the identification of unknown liquid, solid, and powder substances. The CFD HazMat Team assists the CCSO and CPD Bomb Squad in any suspicious package call, special events that require sweeps of the area, and at any other call where our assistance is needed.
Automatic mutual aid agreements are in place within Charleston County and with the Summerville Fire Department for team response to any chemical emergencies within those jurisdictions. The team has also submitted to Firefighter Mobilization through the State HazMat Working Group and may be called up to respond throughout the State of South Carolina.