Welcome to Allegheny County Hazardous Materials Team 440
Due to continuous discussions at the Allegheny County level regarding the possibility of forming several Hazardous Materials teams, the East Borough's Fire Association decided in 1986 to sponsor a Haz Mat team and invited interested, trained fire responders from its area to participate.
The Westinghouse Research and Development Center offered to host the training at its facility in the Borough of Churchill. A "basic instruction" curriculum consisting of 48 hours was determined based on the experiences of the existing two teams in the county: the city of Pittsburgh Team and the Specialized Intervention Team.
The first training date was February 26, 1987 and had 72 persons in attendance, 43 of whom remain on the team today. The basic training program continued at four hours per evening, one night a week for 12 weeks. Robert Full from the City of Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services and Haz Mat Team was the training officer and coordinator, with various instructors provided by the Allegheny County Fire Training Academy. And on July 15, 1988, certificates were presented to 57 persons who completed the Allegheny County mandated 166 hours of training.
Because the volunteers could not be assured as to who was capable of responding to any alarm/call, it was decided to organize the team with very broad-based leadership. Three team coordinators and 14 team leaders were designated, based on past training, experience and leadership positions with their fire departments, etc. The same progressive organizational leadership exists today and has served the team well. Any of those persons can become the team's Incident Commander during extensive incidents.
On June 28, 1988, the Allegheny County Commissioners presented the first specially equipped Hazardous Materials unit to the East Boroughs Response Organization ("Red Team") in a special ceremony at the Allegheny County Courthouse.
The Haz Mat vehicle purchased by Allegheny County was issued to the East Borough's Red Team on July 14, 1998, and is housed at the Forest Hills Volunteer Fire Department.