Accomplishments for Goal #3: HAZ MAT/Explosive Device Response
Hazardous Materials and Bomb Squad
The State has overcome an information gap on the capabilities of bomb and hazmat teams statewide and has focused on developing and tracking equipment, capabilities, and response time. The responsibilities for the unique situations involving chemicals or suspected explosives are distributed across a variety of local and state entities and, prior to 2007, the State had collected very little data on statewide or regional capability. Overcoming information gaps and forging partnerships has become the main area of focus as the State looks to form a more cohesive and coordinated response coalition. Following are key projects and accomplishments:
- Every region in Maryland has access to a Type 1 Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) Team and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team/Bomb Squad whose members are trained at the FBI’s national training center. Maryland has a total of 15 Type I Hazardous Materials teams and 7 Type I Bomb Squads. Specialized response teams that are Type I operate the most advanced and sophisticated equipment, and are able to respond to incidents in the most populated and at-risk areas of the State.
- Maryland Bomb Squads are able to respond to 95 percent of all reported explosive device-related incidents in the State, including rural or remote areas, within one hour of notification – four times better than the national minimum standard of a four hour response. Nationwide, Bomb Squads should be able to respond to an explosive device-related incident within four hours of notification, according to FBI standards. Maryland’s Bomb Squads have voluntarily adopted a one hour response time goal and have consistently met this goal for approximately 95 percent of incidents statewide since at least 2011.
- Signed the Regional Bomb Squad Readiness and Coordination Executive Order. This Executive Order, signed August 9, 2011, formally recognizes a framework that the State’s seven Bomb Squads have voluntarily developed to coordinate responses to explosive-related incidents, share equipment and personnel, and improve operations and capabilities. Following the executive order’s signing, the State’s Bomb Squads have agreed to report detailed incident data to the ATF’s national Bomb Arson Tracking System, (BATS), including incident type (Explosion, Recovery, Suspicious Package, or Threat) and location, which assists the State’s Fusion Center with identifying threat patterns against critical infrastructure or targeted communities.
- Created a specialized, multi-jurisdictional Maritime Bomb Squad that is trained and equipped to prevent and respond to water-borne explosive devices. This team became operational in January 2012 and adds enhanced protection for the critical assets in the Port of Baltimore, the Chesapeake Bay, and other Maryland waterways. This Office of State Fire Marshall (OSFM)-led team has played a leadership role in developing a national response capability for Bomb Squads and more recently helped draft a maritime section for the National Guidelines for Bomb Technicians.
- Invested more than $6 million in state-of-the-art equipment for the both the State and local Bomb Squads. Since 2007, Maryland has secured more than $6 million in federal grant funds from the two Urban Area Security Initiative programs that serve the State (Baltimore Metropolitan Region and the National Capital Region). Equipment purchased with these funds allows the State’s Bomb Squads to safely dismantle vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (IEDs), person-borne IEDs, and other dangerous weapons.
- Maryland became the first to introduce a fully statewide Preventive Radiological and Nuclear Detection (PRND) program. Maryland’s Department of the Environment (MDE) partnered with DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection office (DNDO) to organize participants from over 80 Federal, State and local first responder agencies in the development of the Maryland statewide PRND program. The statewide PRND program leverages real-time radiological detection and monitoring technologies that are currently available in Maryland, including Baltimore City’s fixed chemical and radiological sensors, mobile and hand-held chemical and radiological equipment currently used by state agencies and local partners in the Baltimore and National Capital regions.