Hazardous Material Response
Hazardous Material Response Team

The Hazardous Materials Response Teams are housed in two separate fire stations, one Downtown and one on the Northwest Side of San Antonio. Each team handles transportation accidents, chemical spills in business and manufacturing facilities, and acts of terrorism involving Weapons of Mass Destruction. The team takes corrective actions to stop or mitigate the release of hazardous materials, while safeguarding the welfare of citizens, emergency response personnel and the environment. In addition to their Hazmat duties, the HMRT also provides basic fire suppression and emergency medical first responder services as needed.

HMRT personnel are certified Basic Structural Firefighters, along with having both the Hazardous Materials Technician and Weapons of Mass Destruction Technician designations. Team members also participate in on-going training for special situations, such as highway transportation emergencies, railroad tank car incidents, and Chlorine emergencies.

HMRT provides guidance and assistance to first responding fire companies at the scene of hazardous materials incidents. They are also the primary liaison for the SAFD with other city, state, and federal responding agencies, such as the San Antonio Water Systems, San Antonio Public Works, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency. For Weapons of Mass Destruction incidents, the HMRT provides the same liaison services with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI’s Hazardous Materials Response Unit, and other law enforcement entities.

The HMRT is the fire department’s main response arm for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Domestic Terrorism program, implemented by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security. Team members are trained to identify agents, assist in the collection of samples, and supervise mass decontamination operations.

In addition to the training they receive, HMRT personnel provide training to other response agencies, including the Bexar County Weapons of Mass Destruction team, SAFD’s Medical Special Operations Unit, and SAFD’s Technical Rescue Team.

To further the department’s readiness for possible incidents, all SAFD firefighting personnel are trained to the Hazardous Materials Operations level, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Operations level, and receive continuing education in mass decontamination operations. This general training for Firefighters, coupled with the specialized Hazardous Materials Response Team provides for fast response and assistance to critical situations.

HMRT Quick Facts
  • Two HAZMAT teams.
  • 30 uniformed Firefighters per team.
  • Hundreds of hours of specialized training per team member.
  • 6 Hazmat Response Vehicles.