Hazardous material response capability

HazMat – or, in full, hazardous material response capability – are our experts in incidents involving hazardous materials.


What is HazMat?

We have a range of response capabilities to deal with Hazardous Material incidents. These include FRU (HazMat) fire engines, the Rapid Response Teams, and a team of HMEPOs – specialist managers who respond and advise incident commanders on these types of incidents.

We can also call upon our Scientific Advisers, external experts with advanced chemistry knowledge.

What does the HazMat team do?

They attend incidents that involve hazardous materials, and work to make people – and the area around the incident – safe.

There are typically two kinds of incidents we respond to:

  • Accidents (like spills or chemical leaks)
  • Incidents with criminal intent (terrorism).

Depending on the nature of what’s happened, we’ll work with police, the ambulance service and environmental health to reduce harm and resolve the situation.

In more detail

How do we help?

Incidents vary from spills following motorway crashes to factory or hospital chemical leaks – we’ve even had to help when Londoners have accidentally mixing chemicals they shouldn’t have in their garden sheds!

It depends on what’s happened, but we may help in a number of ways, including:

  • Mass decontamination – setting up special ‘hugh showers’ to reduce risk to the public.
  • Stopping chemicals getting into the water system following tanker crashes.

In their own words...

"The teams attend a range of incidents – some very serious – but there are some lighthearted moments too. Many incidents we attend are accidental spills or mixing of chemicals such as cleaning products."

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