The team was organized by the Butte County Fire Chiefs' Association beginning in 1989 through the use of a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA). Team members are provided by the various departments: Cities of Chico, Oroville, Paradise, Biggs, and Gridley; and the County of Butte/CAL FIRE. Funding is provided through the JPA (at $.15 per capita), various grants, and reimbursements. Annual responses number about 60, with drug lab waste being one of the primary causes of incidents. Other significant incidents include train derailments, tanker overturns, and agricultural incidents.
The team is composed of 30 to 40 Haz Mat Specialists. The team trains together monthly. Training includes a variety of hands-on skills, as well as technical skills, including sophisticated detection equipment.
The teams’ operations are guided by written Standard Operating Procedures.
The team is OES Type 2 and staffs two OES Type 2 response units and one support unit. Haz Mat 64 and Haz Mat Support 64 are stationed at the Kelly Ridge CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire Station and Haz Mat 1 is stationed at Chico Fire Station 1.
Mutual Aid Response
Through California Master Mutual Aid, this team is available for response throughout California.
The Type-2 response units carry level A and level B suits, allowing the team to enter into most toxic atmospheres. We also carry proximity suits. The Type-2 units carry chemical analysis kits, air monitoring and gas detection tools, printed and computer chemical databases, decontamination equipment, and a variety of technical tools. Special equipment includes: chlorine kits, stinger and air drill for fuel tankers, underflow and overflow pipes and valves, and a large amount of absorbents.