Hazardous Materials Updated: Apr 5, 2022

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Christopher Shields
Battalion Chief
E-mail Christopher Shields

In the early 1980’s fire departments developed special HazMat teams to respond to various emergencies involving releases of flammable liquids, toxic gases, corrosive chemicals, poisonous substances and radiation.

Several companies use various chemicals in their manufacturing processes, and many more are transported each day by truck and railroad traffic through the city.

SFSFR operates its own HazMat response unit out of Station 3. All members of the fire suppression staff are trained to the Technician-Specialist level, which involves six weeks of classroom and field training. Additional training was added for responses to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
SFSFR often responds with the HazMat team from the Long Beach Fire Department for additional assistance and expertise, as HazMat incidents can last for several hours.

The State Office of Emergency Services (OES) also classified the SFSFR HazMat team as “Type 1,” the highest rating available. When needed, SFSFR HazMat can respond anywhere in California with a seven-member team for major disasters.

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