The Harris County Hazardous Materials Response Team (HCHMRT) was created following the events of September 11, 2001. The overall HazMat response capabilities of the Harris County Metropolitan area were evaluated and a decision was made to create the HCHMRT as a division of the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.
Each HCHMRT technician must complete more than 120 hours of training, prior to joining the team. Annually, each HCHMRT technician completes numerous hours of continuing education and professional competency through formalized training courses such as:
HM-1 is used as the primary response vehicle to incidents involving hazardous materials and suspected incidents of homeland security, including chemical, biological, radiological, and other emergencies.
The vehicle, including built-in equipment, was manufactured by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, WI, at a cost of almost $1.2 million. Funding was provided through a federal UASI (Urban Area Security Initiative) grant.
The truck, put in service early 2015, has a tremendous amount of capabilities. It has more storage, analytical capabilities, and the ability to link ‘live’ with Transtar and the Harris County EOC.
In May 2008, Harris County HCHMRT added HM-2 and HazMat Marine-1 to the fleet. HM-2, a specially constructed FEMA, Type 1 Foam Tender, is designed to respond to large flammable and combustible liquid incidents in order to protect critical infrastructure and our environment.
In 2010 a Talon Hazardous Materials Robot was purchased with grant funds from the Department of Homeland Security. The robot leverages technology with a 7-instrument detection platform and provides a means for non-human entry into extremely hazardous environments.