HazMat Team/Tactical Response Team Spotlight: Charles County, Maryland

Slideshow Images: Charles County, MD, Hazmat TeamCharles County is located in South Central Maryland and borders the Potomac River and the State of Virginia on the South, Maryland Counties of St. Mary's on the Southeast, Prince Georges on the North and...

There are currently 31 hazmat technicians on the team under the direction of Chief William Stephens and Assistant Chief Adam Weiss. The team headquarters is located at 10425 Audie Lane in La Plata, MD. Typically there are four hazmat technicians on duty during normal business hours, the chief and three from the emergency medical services. Other team members carry pagers and are on call 24/7 and alerted when needed for a response. After hours, a duty officer is on call and all team members are paged when a response is required.

Mutual Aid

Indian Head Volunteer Fire Department "Special Unit 9" responds with the Charles County Tactical Team to hazmat incidents as needed. Special Unit 9 is a 2000 Peterbilt with a 750 gpm pump and 500-gallon water tank. It also has a 50-gallon A & B foam tank. Indian Head has 15 hazmat technicians, 30 operations level and six certified hazmat incident commanders. Special Unit 9 is equipped with a laptop computer with CAMEO, ALOHA, wireless internet and printer. Bomb squad services are provided by the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office.

Training Requirements

Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI), which also has a training center in La Plata, provides technician level training for the team. Hazmat Technician Level for all team members. Firefighters in the county are trained to the hazmat operations level. In addition to hazardous materials training some team members are also trained for rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue and dive rescue. All team personnel attend 12 three-hour drills each year.

Monitoring Instruments & Identification Equipment

Monitoring capabilities include:

  • QRAE 4 Gas Meter
  • QRAE Multi Meter
  • Gas-Trac Combustible Gas Detector
  • Draeger Chemical Detection System
  • Chemical Classifier
  • Draeger Clandestine Lab Detection System
  • Draeger Colormetric Tubes
  • Texas Instrument 4 gas meter (Indian Head)
  • Texas Instrument Chloride Pro Gas Badges (Indian Head)
  • Texas Instrument Sulfur Dioxide Pro Gas Badges (Indian Head)
  • WEI CD 200 Combustible Gas Leak Detector (Indian Head)
  • PCB Test Kits (Indian Head)
  • Mercury Swabs & absorbent (Indian Head)

Radiation Monitors:

  • RAD60 Dosimeter
  • RAD50 Alpha/Beta/Gama Probe
  • Gamma Scout

WMD Monitors:

  • APD 2000 - Chemical Detector
  • RAMP Bio-toxin Detection System

Identification Kits:

  • HAZCAT Basic

Personnel Protective Equipment

Level A

  • Tychem TK

Level B

  • Tyvec

Respiratory Protection

  • Scott 4.5 CBRN


  • Motorola 800 XTS5000 intrinsically safe portables with Radiocom headsets including chest positioned PTTs.

Research Resources

Computer Software

  • Cameo
  • CHRIS Manual
  • Hazmaster G3
  • Aloha
  • Marplot
  • Emergency Response Guide
  • Clandestine Drug Lab Wizard

Hard Copy Reference Books

  • Hazardous Materials Field Guide
  • Hazardous Material Chemistry
  • Merck Index
  • NIOSH Guide for Industrial Chemicals
  • NIOSH Guide to Chemical Hazards
  • Emergency Handling of Hazardous Materials in Surface Transportation Farm Chemicals Handbook
  • GATX Tank Car Manual
  • Hawleys Condensed Chemical Dictionary
  • Sittigs Handbook of Toxic and Hazrdous Chemicals and Carcinogens
  • TLVs and DEIs Guidebook
  • Matheson Gas Data Handbook
  • Gardner's Chemical Synonyms and Trade Names
  • Tomes Plus Advanced Hazmat Life Support
  • Tempest Chem-Bio First Responder Guide
  • Medical Management of Biological, Chemical, Radiological Casualties Handbooks Janes Chem-Bio Handbook

Standard Operating Procedures/Guidelines

Check with the Charles County Tactical Response Team for specific SOP/SOG's

Hazardous Materials Exposures

There is one railroad line in the county along with several pipelines. Major transportation routes include Maryland 5, 210 and 301 (which also continues on to and from Virginia). The Potomac and Patuxent Rivers also provide transportation exposures for hazardous materials. Major chemical exposures in the county include liquefied petroleum gas, sulfuric acid, chlorine, hydrocarbon fuels, cryogenic liquid oxygen and nitrogen.

WMD Capabilities

Charles County's Tactical Response Team is a FEMA Type 1 CBRN Team. Much of Charles County's WMD equipment is part of the National Capitol Region resources. They also respond in a three county area to Maryland's St. Mary's, Calvert and Charles counties. Past incidents have included a propane truck, oil spill in the Patuxent River, man with a pipe bomb, clandestine drug lab and white powder incidents.

Thanks to La Plata Volunteer Fire Department Truck 1 and crew for their support in taking elevated photograph in Slide #1.

Contact Information: