As the largest suburb of Mexico City, Ecatepec, has a population of 1.6 million and is the third most populous city behind Mexico City’s 16 boroughs and Tijuana. Migration from rural Mexico in the 1970s propelled its population growth until 2010; population growth has since leveled off.
The city’s hazmat team, Ecatepec Rescue, was founded in 2009 when the fire department wanted a special rescue and hazmat company to respond to these emergencies and fire.
The team has 15 members, who are called in from other duties. Most of the members are young and eager to learn each day. They hold formal training weekly and, when possible, train with outside agencies.
Their biggest successes have been safely and appropriately controlling ammonia and chlorine leaks.
The team responds with a light, multi-purpose vehicle. They are responsible for acquiring most of their own equipment, with only some provided by the city. Getting the necessary equipment remains the team’s greatest need.