One of the many responsibilities of the Emergency Services Division is the mitigation of Hazardous Material incidents. The El Paso County Hazardous Materials Response Team is comprised of both Sheriff Deputies and volunteers. The Hazardous Materials Team is part of the South Central All Hazards Region which is comprised of Hazmat teams within El Paso, Chaffee, Lake, Park, and Teller Counties. All members must undergo additional training in order to obtain state and national certifications.
Hazardous materials are present in every community in the country. Over 1.2 million shipments of these materials occur daily. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Hazardous Materials Team responds to hazardous material incidents occurring in unincorporated El Paso County. For Team members, this is a secondary duty in addition to their normal work assignment, and members are on call 24 hours a day.
With the passage of 1A in 2012, the Sheriff’s Office was able dedicate one full time Hazmat Coordinator who is responsible for the coordination of incident response, maintenance of all equipment, and the coordination of training for the Team. The County also assists in training and response for 22 rural fire districts within the county.
The events of September 11, 2001, have resulted in a greater focus on the role of first responders in carrying out the nation's emergency management efforts. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the primary federal entity responsible for ensuring that first responders, such as police, fire, emergency medical, and public health personnel, have the capabilities needed to provide a coordinated, comprehensive response to any large-scale crisis. To date the El Paso County Hazardous Materials Response Teams has received over 2 million dollars in vehicles and equipment. To keep pace with the county’s growth, our team is continually training to obtain and maintain proficiency in accordance with local and federal standards.