Today’s Hazmatters are the men and women of the NYC Transit HazMat/WMD Response Team! With more than one hundred members the dedicated Transit HazMat/WMD Response Team serve the 8 million citizens of NYC. Part of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) which manages transit, buses, subways, trains, bridges and tunnels in New York City and surrounding areas including Long Island. The special unit is part of the The Department of Security within the MTA.
This excerpt from a 2011 MTA press release about the unit:
“The Hazardous Materials Response Truck, which was manufactured by Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Holden, Louisiana at a cost of $336,000, will carry specialized HazMat equipment and up to 10 of the highly-trained NYC Transit Hazardous Materials team members to the scene of an incident. Each team member was required to pass a specialized HazMat Physical. They then received extensive training, including the 40-hour Hazardous Materials Technician Course provided by the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control. Members of the four-year old team have earned advanced certification and participate in quarterly drills in order to enhance their skills and efficiency.
“This team’s greatest strength lies in its members’ experience and the training they have received to quickly assess, troubleshoot and address an incident, including, if necessary, the safe operation of a train under even the most extraordinary circumstances while wearing the highest levels of personal protective equipment;” explained NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr.
Dr. Burrus was appointed Senior Director Environmental Protection & Industrial Hygiene in 2004 to research technologies effective in the detection of chemical, biological and radiological weapons of mass destruction. Earlier this year, he was appointed Deputy Chief, WMD Detection & Countermeasures to implement the use of the most effective technologies and strategies.”
The Department of Security is responsible for safeguarding transit facilities like that of train yards and works with the NYPD to address issues of crime and terrorism and the FDNY for emergency response and hazmat. The Department of Security within the MTA does include a security force that is armed. Though the HAZMAT team operates under the Department of Security, none of it’s members are security officers. The HAZMAT Response Team is considered a special and privileged position.
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