The Horry County Fire Rescue Hazardous Materials/Technical Rescue Response Team was established in 1993. The HazTech Team has been extensively trained and equipped to respond to the threat and/or deployment of nuclear, chemical, biological and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) incidents.
The 35 plus certified hazardous materials technicians who make up the team (including career and volunteer officers, firefighters, paramedics, and EMT’s) has advanced training in hazardous materials that bring various skills to the team.
The HazTech Team is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week and responds to calls within Horry County. The HazTech Team is housed at Station 23 (University), which is centrally located within the county.
A minimum of five HazTech Team members are on duty at all times. In addition, the department has additional members certified as technicians who are not currently assigned to the station. These members are available for assignment to the team if needed.
The most common types of calls the HazTech Team responds to involve acid spills, gasoline spills, chemical spills, and chlorine and vapor leaks. Common household calls often involve BBQ grill propane tanks and natural or propane gas leaks in pipes or appliances.
The HazTech Team often trains with the Horry County Police Department’s Special Operations Units on WMD issues and provides hazardous materials training to other local agencies.
The HazTech Team also works with several local, regional and federal agencies to develop protocols for different types of hazardous material emergencies. These multi-agency partnerships have been strengthened to foster interagency knowledge, as well as to develop an understanding of what each agency’s role is in an emergency situation.
The HazTech Team is outfitted with a HazTech truck and trailer to store and transport the various equipment and protective gear necessary for hazardous materials emergencies. Horry County Fire Rescue HazTech Team is equipped with chemical/biological protective suits for use at hazardous materials incidents. The HazTech team has a medical unit dedicated for the team located at Station 23 – University. The team has the capability and equipment to decontaminate, treat and transport victims of chemical or biological exposure.
The Team also consist of the Technical Rescue Team. This team is specially trained in confined space, trench, collapsed building, high and low angle rope rescues. All Technical Rescue team members are also certified as Hazardous Materials Technicians. The team works as one unit covering both the hazardous materials and the technical rescue and all equipment is stationed together.
When not responding to or training for hazardous materials emergencies, the members of the HazTech team staff an Advanced Life Support (ALS) equipped Engine and Ambulance to respond to standard fire and medical emergencies.