The Hazardous Materials Specialist is responsible for performing the various hazardous materials functions for the task force during incident operations. The Hazardous Materials Specialist reports directly to the Hazardous Materials Team Manager.

Description of Duties

The Hazardous Materials Specialist is responsible for:

  • Providing an initial and ongoing survey (detection, monitoring and sampling) for identification of the presence of hazardous materials at search and rescue sites.
  • Directing decontamination procedures for any task force member or victim.
  • Performing mitigation operations when indicated.
  • Providing assistance and information to medical personnel regarding chemical exposure and injuries.
  • Documenting all related information.
  • Adhering to all safety procedures.
  • Performing additional tasks or duties as assigned during a mission.

Position Requirements and Criteria

Individuals who meet the following requirements and criteria will be eligible to become Hazardous Materials Specialists in the FEMA US&R Response System. These requirements intend to select personnel fully capable of providing competent hazardous materials assessments and advice to Task Force personnel in the urban disaster environment. The requirements and criteria for the position are identified in the following categories:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Abilities


The Hazardous Materials Specialist:

  1. Shall meet and maintain the requirements as a certified Hazardous Materials Technician as per OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.120 Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response.
  2. Shall meet or exceed certification as a state or National Registry certified emergency medical technician.
  3. Completed Basic Rescue Module (Appendix A) consisting of Confined Space (entrant), Basic Rope Rescue, and Trench awareness.
  4. Shall meet and maintain the requirements for confined space entry in accordance with OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.146 Confined Space Entry Permit.
  5. Shall meet and maintain the competencies in accordance with National Fire Protection Association standard 472 Standard for Professional Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials Incidents to the level of Hazardous Materials Technician.
  6. Shall successfully complete the FEMA/US&R WMD Considerations for Hazardous Materials Specialist course
  7. Form conclusions based on HazMat assessment and make recommendations for dealing with Haz Mat in the assigned rescue area.


The Hazardous Materials Specialist:

  1. Must properly utilize the detection monitors and devices in the US&R cache
  2. Must properly doff and don all personal protective equipment in the US&R cache
  3. Must be proficient with the setup and use of the decontamination system in the US&R cache
  4. Must be proficient in building triage and US&R marking systems


The Hazardous Materials Specialist shall be capable of:

  1. Working well with technical experts, local officials, and other organizations.
  2. Working together as a team to accomplish the tasks assigned by the Hazardous Materials Team Manager.
  3. Working extended duration’s in CPC during disaster operations.
  4. Analyze pertinent information relative to the presence of hazardous materials and make recommendations regarding mitigation techniques and personal protective equipment.