The Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Division is responsible for coordinating the response resources of the city and parish emergency services in the event of an incident involving hazardous materials.
By definition, a hazardous material is any substance in a quantity or form which may be harmful to humans, domestic animals, wildlife, crops, or property when released into the environment. Many hazardous-material substances are manufactured or transported within this parish on a daily basis. Thus, the importance of maintaining a well equipped, professional hazardous-materials team for the Baton Rouge Fire Department is recognized.
Since the development of the Hazardous Materials Division, we have continued to work closely with the major industrial plants throughout the City of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge. This division schedules plant tours for the responding fire department units located in their districts. Our educational programs continue through the school systems in the parish, to distribute and present programs with the assistance of the North Baton Rouge Chemical Industry Task Force (NBRCITF).
This division also trains or helps train several volunteer departments in hazardous-materials response and mitigation. The Hazardous Materials Division regularly participates in drills involving industrial facilities and agencies throughout the parish.
The primary responsibility of the HazMat Division is the response to and mitigation of emergencies involving (or potentially involving) chemicals. Other responsibilities include training, planning, and exercising for chemical emergencies with both public and private agencies. One important activity that supports the division’s goals is the management of the Baton Rouge Area Mutual Aid System (BRAMAS). This organization is made up of paying members from the eight parishes within the Baton Rouge area and facilitates the corporation of these entities, so they can support each other during emergencies.
The Haz Mat Division also participates with the Local Emergency Planning Committee, the Baton Rouge Area Mutual Aid System, and the North Baton Rouge Chemical Industry Task Force on a monthly basis in meetings to plan activities that make Baton Rouge less vulnerable to and more prepared for chemical releases.
The Hazardous Materials Division consists of 12 personnel. One Hazardous Materials Chief, 1 Assistant Hazardous Materials Chief, 1 Fire Records Clerk and 9 Hazardous Materials Officers.
The Hazardous Materials Officers man a 24-hour response unit (Unit 96) that responds parishwide. They respond to chemical releases with products with the following hazards:
- Compressed Gases
- Corrosive Liquids
- Flammable Liquids
- Miscellaneous or Unknown
- Radioactive Products
- Water Reactive Products
The division received 136 notifications from area industrial sites involving situations or incidents that could involve the public; these may include but are not limited to: chemical spills, fires, medical emergencies, flaring, training, and drills.