The hazardous material team is trained to respond to incidents involving dangerous materials by deploying a wide range of tools to detect, control, limit and stabilize spills or leaks of such materials. Its members are also trained to carry out the decontamination of individuals or equipment during or following an incident.
To become a member of the hazardous material team, firefighters must complete 80 hours of special training related to chemistry, toxicology and the identification of hazardous materials. About 50 firefighters with the Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal belong to this specialized team. The steps involved in reponding to an incident involving hazardous material are clearly established and must be followed. These steps, known under the acronym "IAIAI," are: isolation, approach, identification, analysis, and intervention.
When responding to incidents involving hazardous material, the members of this specialized team wear protective clothing that differs greatly from the traditional firefighting bunker. Responders can choose between several types of protective clothing, based on the type of incident involved. There are four levels of protection, identified by the letters A, B, C and D, with A corresponding to the highest level of protection and D the least sophisticated level of protection. The boots worn during an incident involving hazardous material are made of silicone, whereas regular firefighting boots are made of leather. In both cases, the boots have steel soles and toes.