The Charleston Fire Department HazMat Response team provides 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 may be called to assist local agencies with suspicious packages, special events, or other calls where assistance may be needed.
Automatic mutual aid agreements are in place for team response to neighboring jurisdictions.