The LAFD provides a robust multi-tier emergency services response to hazardous materials incidents. Each sworn LAFD position is trained to exceed Haz Mat First Responder Operations (FRO) competencies. Additional training, equipment and procedures include mass and emergency decontamination, Rapid Extraction (rescue in a hazardous environment), Weapons of Mass Destruction procedures and Emergency Medical Services protocols (containment and treatment, for example, infectious diseases). The LAFD is the City’s key agency in hazardous materials emergencies. The LAFD Haz Mat Program utilizes a unified approach with allied agencies and many stakeholders to provide preparedness, prevention, response, mitigation and resiliency to hazardous materials emergencies.
The LAFD is an all-hazards response organization, and the Haz Mat Program is designed to address the natural, technological, or purposeful response challenges, including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) threats to our community and national security. The LAFD provides 24-hour emergency services in FOUR Haz Mat Task Forces (HMTFs) geographically distributed throughout the City. The four HMTFs’ strategic locations are:
- Fire Station 21 (staffed Haz Mat Squad) – Central
- Fire Station 48 (flex - Haz Mat Squad) – Port of Los Angeles
- Fire Station 87 (flex - Haz Mat Squad) – Valley
- Fire Station 95 (flex - Haz Mat Squad) – Los Angeles World Airport (LAX).
Each HMTF is staffed with certified Haz Mat Technicians for strategic/tactical offensive operations in hazard identification, technical advising, entry into hazardous atmospheres, specialized mitigation and technical decontamination. In addition, the LAFD has FOUR geographically spaced fire stations equipped with a cache of Mass Decontamination equipment that is designed to offer support for HazMat teams as well as offer decontamination for large crowds of persons. This equipment is available and ready to be used by all on duty, FRO trained personnel.
Our HazMat program has been a long-time pioneer in the nation's hazardous materials emergency discipline. This includes many innovative solutions in training, operations, and equipment. For example, the LAFD maintains a Type 1 standard of equipment and response for all four teams that is recognized by California Office of Emergency Services as capable of operating at incidents involving known/unknown chemicals and WMDs. Also, the LAFD trains, responds, and cooperates with a number of partner agencies in a format known as the Joint Hazard Assessment Team (JHAT). The JHAT is primarily formed with local law partners and County Health partners. One of the key successes of this technologically advanced, multi –discipline team of specialists is an exploratory (research & development) platform for special operations. This team collaborates to create new solutions that raises the standard for the nation’s first responders and the community’s protection. The visitors and residents of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Region can be confident that the LAFD is capable of detecting and correcting the accidental and intentional releases of chemicals, no matter the nature of the chemical.