Specialist resources: Hazardous materials

Control Measure Knowledge

This control measure should be read in conjunction with Specialist resources


Detection, identification and monitoring (DIM) equipment

Due to the complexity of hazardous material incidents, the requirement for specialist equipment to assist with the detection, identification and monitoring of an environment will be necessary to ensure a safe conclusion of an incident.

The initial fire and rescue service response to an event may have access to some detection and monitoring equipment to assist in the identification of hazards associated with certain substances, for example radioactive material, carbon monoxide and explosive atmospheres.

Such equipment can confirm the presence of radiation and once this is known, responders can access data sources and specialist advice to inform the assessment of risk.

In some cases, such as gas monitoring, it may be possible to monitor the spread of hazardous materials. This will help maintain safe cordon distances and determine whether intervention techniques are being effective.

National Resilience assets

Personnel should be aware of the specialist capabilities available to their respective fire and rescue service, such as National Resilience assets of mass decontamination units, detection, and identification and monitoring. Personnel should also consider the use of the specialist capabilities that exist within other agencies including CBRN(e) responders and mutual aid from the military.

Specialist equipment

Accessing appropriate and specific equipment to deal with a hazardous material incident can assist in mitigating the effects of the incident. Such equipment can be expensive and difficult to maintain. For these reasons, several organisations may provide the equipment to the fire and rescue service for use in an emergency. This equipment may be supplied before incidents as part of mutual support or be available on request at an incident. For example:

  • Site owners/operators
  • Environmental agencies
  • Highways agencies
  • Private fire and rescue services
  • Private contractors

The amount and type of equipment will be determined by the risk posed at the hazardous material site. Use of non-fire and rescue equipment should be subject to normal risk assessment procedures.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions