Hazardous Materials Specialist

Position Duties

  • Providing an initial and ongoing survey (detection, monitoring and sampling) for, and identification of, the presence of hazardous materials at search and rescue sites
  • Setting up and using the decontamination system in the US&R cache
  • Directing decontamination procedures for any task force member victim, canine, or equipment
  • Performing minor mitigation operations within the scope of the Hazmat Concept of Operations (CONOPS)
  • Assisting team managers in providing information to personnel regarding chemical data and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) compatibility and capability for tactical operations
  • Documenting all pertinent information regarding the incident
  • Adhering to all safety procedures
  • Utilizing the detection monitors and devices in the US&R cache
  • Donning and doffing all personal protective equipment in the US&R cache
  • Building triage and using US&R marking systems
  • Working with Logistics Team personnel to establish and maintain a regular maintenance schedule for HazMat cache items as required, including calibration, battery charging, function tests and field repair
  • Performing regular assessments of the base camp for hazardous conditions, such as carbon monoxide from generators, or any other contaminants
  • Establishing and maintaining a liaison with HazMat personnel from the Incident Support Team (IST) and other task forces
  • Performing additional tasks or duties as assigned during a mission


  • Physical Training Walk: Members must be able to walk 2 miles within 40 minutes carrying a thirty-pound pack (tested annually)
  • Medical Clearance: Members must be cleared by Medical Staff (renew every 3 years)

Required General Training 

Complete prior to application (no cost):

Complete once accepted to the team (cost covered by Task Force):

  • Water Rescue Awareness
  • FEMA National US&R Response System Orientation – Computer-Based Portion
  • Blood-Borne Pathogen Training
  • Critical Incident Stress Awareness
  • CPR License (renew as needed)
  • Confined Space Search and Rescue Awareness
  • Structural Collapse Search and Rescue Awareness

Complete during New Member Orientation (cost covered by Task Force):

  • FEMA National US&R Response System Orientation- instructor-Led
  • First Responder Operations Level for Hazardous Materials (renew annually)
  • Respiratory Protection Training and Fit Test (renew annually)
  • FEMA US&R Enhanced Operations in the Contaminated Environment – Instructor-Led

Paperwork Requirements

After acceptance onto the Task Force, you will need to have the following documents on file:

  • Memorandum of Understanding (renew every 3 years)
  • Application for Federal Employment
  • Immunization Record
  • Signed Code of Conduct
  • FEMA Transmittal
  • FEMA Affidavit
  • TEEX General Release

Required Position-Specific Training 

  • Hazardous Materials Technician as per OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.120 Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response
  • 472 Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents to the level of Hazardous Materials Technician
  • FEMA US&R Hazardous Materials Specialist

Annual Training Requirements 

  • Either an Operational Readiness Exercise (3 days) or a Mobilization Exercise (2 days)
  • 1 Regional Training (1 day)
  • Skill Set (3 days)
  • Work Days (Recommended: 1 day/month; Required: 2 days/year)

Optional Commitment & Requirements

  • USAR Boat Operator
    • Surface Water Rescue – Chapter 11 NFPA 1006 Level 1 & 2
    • Swiftwater Rescue- Chapter 12 NFPA 1006 Level 1 & 2
    • Boat Operator – Chapter – 11 NFPA 1006
    • Rope Rescue – Chapter 6 NFPA 1006 Level 1 & 2
    • GPS Awareness Course
    • 800m swim test

Training Recommendations

  • Swiftwater Rescue Levels I&II
  • Wide Area Search
  • MGT-314 (If pursuing a leadership role)
  • ICS-300 and ICS-400 (If pursuing a leadership role)
  • Response to Radiological/Nuclear WMD Incident Course (Course Code: PER-354)
  • Hazardous Materials Technologies: Sampling, Monitoring, and Detection course (Course Code: PER-261)
  • Rope Rescue (Technician or Level 2)
  • Confined Space Rescue (Technician or Level 2)
  • Trench Rescue (Technician or Level 2)
  • Vehicle and Machinery Rescue (Technician or Level 2)
  • Incident Safety Officer
  • HazMat Incident Commander
  • Training for the Task Force water purification system in the US&R Equipment cache
  • US&R Operations Manual Annex B: US&R Operations in Contaminated Environment Concept of Operations (ConOps)

Financial Requirement / Deployment Equipment List

Uniform items and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are provided by the Task Force, items not provided include:

  • Belt
  • US&R Boots
  • Sleeping clothes, Undergarments, and socks
  • Swimmer’s towel and small towel
  • Hygiene kit/Toiletries

The following items are optional for personal protection or comfort:

  • Personal Laptop
  • Multitool
  • Additional bedding options for comfort
  • Wet wipes
  • Personal Hand Tools
  • Other items as desired