The purpose of this page is to explain the Cal OES Type II HazMat Vehicle Program, Type II HazMat Response Vehicle, Local Staff Training, and to provide links to pertinent documents that are associated with the Program.
Charles Tobias, Assistant ChiefSpecial Operations & Hazardous Materials SectionPhone: (916) 845-8830Fax: (916) firstname.lastname@example.org
HistoryIn 1951, the federal government established a program to match state and local funds for the purchase of fire and rescue apparatus and equipment. The program was based on the philosophy that no single fire department could afford to purchase and maintain sufficient apparatus to combat a major natural or human caused disaster. The Governor’s Fire Advisory Committee [a forerunner of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES)] recommended that the state purchase 100 fire engines through this program. These engines were assigned to local firefighting agencies throughout the state under the auspices of the Fire Advisory Committee. Presently, the fleet of Cal OES Type I and Type III fire engines has grown to 129, with more on the way. Cal OES has also funded 20 Type II Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Trailers and 13 Type I Swiftwater Rescue Teams (Cal OES Swiftwater-Flood Search & Rescue Teams). Additionally, Cal OES supports the readiness and operations of California’s 8 State/National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Task Forces and plays a coordinating and support role in the state’s system of 12 Regional US&R Task Forces.
Hazardous Materials ResponseIn the early 1980’s, the accidental or purposeful release (or burning, or explosion) of hazardous materials was recognized as a significant threat to human and animal life, the environment, and property. Many local government fire departments and other agencies established Hazardous Materials Response Teams. The Cal OES began the formalized “typing” of Haz Mat teams in 2003. There are presently 63 local government “typed” Haz Mat Response Teams in California. In 2016, Cal OES recognized a number of significant gaps in Haz Mat Team response times exceeding two hours. In order to safeguard life and the environment by bolstering the state’s Hazardous Materials response capabilities, Cal OES has purchased and equipped 12 Type II Hazardous Materials Response Vehicles and funded Haz Mat Specialist training for 17 personnel, respectively, to staff each of those vehicles. Beginning in early 2018, two of the Cal OES Type II Haz Mat Response Vehicles were assigned to local government fire departments in each of California’s six Mutual Aid Regions. In 2020, Cal OES increased the response capabilities of the 12 Cal OES Type II Haz Mat Response Vehicles. The number of trained personnel was increased to 25 and added all of the Type I required equipment to the cache in anticipation of any requests for response to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) emergencies.
Program DynamicsToday, Cal OES and 12 assignee local government fire departments are parties to a contractual agreement permitting the use of the Cal OES Type II Haz Mat Response Vehicles for local emergency response, out-of-service Haz Mat vehicles, training, exercises, and other needs. In return, the assignee fire departments are required to dispatch the Cal OES Type II Haz Mat Response Vehicles anywhere in the state staffed by the required number of Haz Mat-trained personnel as requested through the California Fire & Rescue Mutual Aid System. This brings the total number of “typed” Haz Mat Teams in California to 75.
Cal OES funded Hazardous Materials training for 17 personnel to staff each Cal OES Type II Haz Mat Response Vehicle per jurisdiction, which entailed 160 hours of technician, 80 hours of specialist, and 16 hours of Assistant Safety Officer training. Cal OES is in the process to secure funding for sustainability and continual education.