Hazardous materials apparatus

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The Santa Barbara Fire Department HazMat vehicle staged at an incident.
HazMat Response unit with the ACT Fire & Rescue Service in Canberra.

A Hazardous Material Apparatus is a specialized piece of firefighting equipment used by firefighters responding to calls involving potentially hazardous materials.[1] Due to the ever evolving nature of dangerous goods, these vehicles are highly customized to fit the needs of the fire department responsible for the apparatus.[1] The needs of a relatively small town such as Santa Barbara will not be the same as that of a big city such as Los Angeles.


In the United States NFPA regulation 471 details the Recommended Practice For Responding To Hazardous Materials Incidents.[2] While no specifications are given for the HazMat vehicle, the document does outline some of the equipment required including a radiation detector, pH meter and other air sampling devices.[2]

A typical HazMat vehicle will have a portion dedicated to a command and communications center. Often fitted with computers, televisions, two-way radios and other equipment.[1] This command center is usually located in a portion of the vehicle that slides out or expands much like is found on a typical recreational vehicle.[3]

HazMat vehicles also often come with a portable lab complete with sinks and fume hoods that allow for the analysis of samples collected at the scene.[1] Essentially a mobile laboratory, this allows early on-site scientific analysis and monitoring will to speed up the detection process and allow firefighters and other emergency services to provide the correct response for the particular incident.


Some equipment found on HazMat vehicles include:[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Petrillo, Alan (1 August 2012). "Hazmat Vehicle Designs Reflect Unique Requirements". Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment. 17 (8). Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Recommended Practice For Responding To Hazardous Materials Incidents" (2002 ed.). National Fire Protection Association. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Bob, Vacarro (1 January 2011). "Speccing a Hazmat Truck". FireRescue (January 2011). Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Jakubowski, Greg (21 November 2012). "Engine Company Equipment for Hazmat Response". FireRescue. Retrieved 17 March 2015.