55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204
When the local first responder on scene determines that an incident is beyond their level of training and equipment, the incident commander requests a team through the Oregon Emergency Response System (OERS). OERS notifies the OSFM duty officer and other appropriate agencies.
The Regional Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Teams program is funded through the Petroleum Load Fee authorized in ORS 465.101-465.127. The fee is collected each time a load of petroleum products is withdrawn from a bulk facility or imported into the state.
Requesting a Team
The local first responder (fire or police) will arrive on scene and size up the incident. If it is determined the incident is beyond their level of training and equipment, the incident commander will request a team through the Oregon Emergency Response System (OERS) at 1-800-452-0311. OERS will make the notification to the OSFM duty officer and other appropriate agencies. Many fire departments have developed close working relationships with their regional teams and may contact them directly to request a response. Even if they contact the team directly, the local responder will still need to contact OERS so that other appropriate notifications are made. All teams are authorized to respond to incidents meeting state response criteria without authorization from the OSFM duty officer.
When a Regional Hazardous Materials Team arrives on scene, their job is to provide technical resources to the incident commander. The local first responder retains incident command. If the incident is large enough to require a unified command, the team leader becomes a part of that structure. The regional teams are responsible for mitigating and containing the incident. They don’t become involved in clean up operations. Once the situation is stable the Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for working with the responsible party to assure cleanup of the incident is completed appropriately. A full team may not respond in every instance. The system provides for a tiered response ranging from technical advice over the phone, to on-site recon, to a full team response.
Technician training in the State of Oregon is standardized so all teams members responding in the state have received the same base training. Per OSHA regulations team members complete annual refresher training. Team members attend seminars, conferences and courses nationwide for advanced training. We also assist teams in bringing advanced training to their locations so the entire team can attend.
OSFM provides cost recovery for response to incidents meeting the state response criteria. OSFM will pursue collection of the actual response cost from the responsible party and the team receives an additional 8% fee to offset administrative costs. If there is no responsible party, or if OSFM is unable to collect, actual costs are reimbursed by the program's revolving fund.
The state provides each team with a customized emergency response vehicle. The original vehicle configuration is being phased out over seven biennium’s and replaced with a modified 36 foot trailer and two-ton tow vehicle. In addition, the new vehicle packages include a smaller trailer and Suburban to be used for recon, or bringing additional supplies to a scene.
The state has provided each of the teams with Level "A", "B", and "C" Personal Protective Equipment, a computer system, communications equipment, monitoring and detection equipment, as well as a variety of materials used for mitigation and containment. Most of the equipment received by each team is standardized so that in the event of two or more teams respond together, they are familiar with the available resources.
Hazardous Materials Team Boundaries
There are fifteen teams strategically located statewide to provide a maximum 2-hour response time. Response times in most areas of the state meet or exceed that goal. In several team locations multiple jurisdictions have partnered together to provide response. The teams are made up of volunteer and career firefighters, law enforcement, and public works employees. The diverse membership allows teams to develop areas of response expertise to respond to hazards in their response areas.