Hazardous Materials Response Team

HazMat workers training together.

The City of Pittsburgh Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Response Team was established in 1986 as a joint effort between the Bureau of EMS and the Bureau of Fire. Presently the team is made up of 31 Paramedics, 45 Firefighters and 10 Police Officers. The City of Pittsburgh HazMat Team is also one of six teams that make up the Allegheny County Hazardous Materials Response Team and is known to the county as the Gold Team.

The HazMat team is deployed after a hazardous material release is confirmed by the first arriving units to a suspected incident.

The EMS Bureau’s role on the HazMat team is to provide environmental monitoring, expert medical capabilities to include identification of potential hazards based on the symptoms of any potential victims, provide “Hot Zone” medical care to civilians and responders, administer antidotes and provide for both gross and technical decontamination of both civilians and responders. The Bureau’s ability to provide “Hot Zone” care and non-ambulatory decontamination of potential victims is an uncommon capability of HazMat teams and is another example of why Pittsburgh EMS trains to take the medicine to the patient, wherever they may be.

The EMS Bureau houses and maintains “Decon 2” which is a vehicle specifically outfitted and designed for the Bureau’s mission as part of the HazMat team.

Additional HazMat units operated primarily by the Bureau of Fire include a foam engine, a spill cleanup truck and HazMat 1.