Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department organized its Haz-Mat, or Hazardous Materials Team, in 1977. It was the first organized municipal Haz-Mat team in the nation. Today, JFRD Haz-Mat is recognized across the nation as a leader in the field.
Every day, 16 firefighters serving on two Haz-Mat teams stand ready to respond to any type of chemical, biological or radiological incident. This could involve anything from a vehicle accident resulting in a fuel spill to large scale events such as train derailments, aircraft incidents or other major call involving any quantity or type of hazardous materials.
JFRD Haz-Mat teams worked with the FBI on countering potential terrorist attacks in preparation for the 2005 Super Bowl. Immediately following the 2001 attacks, the Haz-Mat teams responded to more than 100 suspicious powder incidents. In January 2006 the Haz-Mat team responded to an explosion involving radioactive krypton gas at a local facility. In 2005 the JFRD Haz-Mat team responded to approximately 500 Haz-Mat incidents ranging from simple petroleum releases like diesel fuel to toxic gases such as Chlorine. JFRD Haz-Mat teams routinely provide mutual aid to surrounding counties.
All Haz-Mat team members have achieved the 160 hours of training required to become a state certified Haz-Mat technician. The department boasts 150 Haz-Mat technicians across the ranks.
Jacksonville's Haz-Mat unit includes 27 members who deploy statewide in emergencies outside Duval County.
Haz-Mat is part of Special Operations in the Operations Division.