This edition of Hazmatters was submitted by Jack Spencer of theDistrict of Columbia Fire & EMS Department HazMat Response team. The District of Columbia is unique as it is not a State, County, or City it is a federal District and home to the Capitol of the U.S.A. The Hazmat Nation has no borders as it does not matter what part of the world you are from, the chemical properties, mission and purpose are probably the same. Here we get a closer look at DC Hazmat.
The mission of the Special Operations Division is to provide a coordinated response to unique Hazmat, WMD and technical rescue situations through the application of highly trained and specialized resources. This is accomplished in accordance with and in relation to; “all hazard” planning and preparedness; special event coordination, CBRNE counter-measures and integration with various City, State, Regional and Federal/DOD partners.
DC Hazmat, is staffed by 24 career members of the District of Columbia Fire and EMS Department (IAFF L36). The unit, which was started in the early 80’s, is staffed 24/7 as a dedicated hazmat team which means they do not cross staff to another apparatus.Their first due has a nighttime population of about 633,000 but can have well over 1M during the daytime. Their unique district includes the US federal government, foreign embassies and large events such as inaugurations and 1st amendment demonstrations. The majority of the calls are related to WMD threats.The team does extensive training with their entire Special Operations Battalion and the Rescue companies are also trained in hazmat and serve as backup and RIT on incidents.The response units are both 2018 Pierce Arrow XT. The main unit can handle most calls such as “white powder” incidents, suspicious package calls or fluid spills. The support unit carries much the same equipment but in bigger quantities (more absorbent material etc) plus fluid transfer pumps and flaring equipment.
The stats: District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department
Type of HazMat Team: Municipal Fire/HazMat Response
Staffing: 24 career fully staffed (on duty 24/7),Dedicated HazMat ONLY
Population Served: 633k night time 1m+ day time
Date Team Started: Early 80s
The Rigs: 2018 Pierce Arrow
Mission StatementThe mission of the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Service Department is to preserve life and promote health and safety through excellent pre-hospital treatment and transportation, fire prevention, fire suppression and rescue activities and homeland security awareness.
Vision StatementThe vision of the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department is to be a performance based organization in which a well-trained, multi-disciplined skilled workforce utilizes state-of the art equipment, technology and apparatus to provide the highest quality of Fire and Emergency Medical Services. To our residents and visitors the DC Fire and EMS Department strives for excellence in emergency preparedness, education and response, to enhance our customer focused innovative initiatives as industry leaders, while overcoming expanding risks.
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