Hazardous Materials Program Overview

The primary mission of the Hazardous Materials Program is to provide assistance to local jurisdictions in emergency situations involving hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction. This assistance can take several forms depending upon the incident severity and the capability of local responders.

Assistance can include an on-scene response by a Regional Hazardous Materials Officer (RHMO) and a state-contracted regional HAZMAT response team, if needed. Once on scene, these officers can provide technical assistance, response advice and serve as liaison to other agencies or groups. These officers are prepared to conduct offensive-control actions to include hot-zone entry for reconnaissance, stabilization, and product confinement.

Each RHMO is trained and equipped to assist with the identification of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials. Technical assistance or on-scene response is available on a 24/7 basis from one or more of the RHMOs. These officers will work with other state resources, industry representatives, and technical consultants to provide vital information to emergency responders on scene.

The Hazardous Materials Program maintains specialized detection and monitoring equipment, specialized protective clothing, and product-control devices. On-scene responses can be made by ground or air transportation and are available on a 24-hour basis throughout the Commonwealth by request through the Virginia Emergency Operations Center at 800-468-8892.

Hazardous Materials / CBRNE training programs are those courses that address the needs of state and local officials assigned to duties related to preparedness for, response to, containment and mitigation of the accidental or intentional release of hazardous chemicals and related substances.  “Hazardous Material” means a substance or material in a form or quantity, which may pose an unreasonable risk to health, safety or property when transported, and which the Secretary of Transportation of the United States has so designated by regulation or order.