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Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council supports projects which aim to protect personnel and the community from hazardous materials. These hazardous materials can include agents that are chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or (high yield) explosive in nature. These projects are overseen by WRHSAC’s CBRNE Subcommittee. This subcommittee also oversees projects related to various specialty response teams in the region including the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team, Special Response Teams (SRT) and Hazardous Materials Response Teams.

Some recent CBRNE projects include:

Hazardous Materials Response Teams JHIRT Equipment 

WRHSAC purchased two new bomb suits and tactical armor vests for District 4 and 5 team members of the Joint Hazardous Incident Response Team (JHIRT). JHIRT is a team within the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services’ Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Division. Trained technicians provide technical or operational assistance in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad to incidents involving reactive or energetic materials that may pose a risk of harm to the public or responders.

Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team Equipment

WRHSAC funds were instrumental in establishing the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team. Initial projects included equipment and training for rope rescue, trench rescue, and structural collapse rescue. WRHSAC has recently provided funds for the team to add water rescue capabilities. Equipment, training and exercises have been funded. 

Underwater Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV)

The ROV is a self-propelled highly portable underwater vehicle that is controlled from the surface. It is equipped with a 250 foot tether. It has self-contained lighting and pan tilt front and rear cameras for illuminating and documenting the incident. With its sonar scanner and a manipulation arm, not only can the operator locate the victim or object in zero visibility but also they could recover them without having to assemble teams and deploy divers. The sonar can detect objects up to 60 meters away from the ROV and can be used in areas or situations that are not conducive to towed systems like ice rescue, confined spaces or areas without boat access.

The ROV can also be outfitted to perform other tasks like locating metal objects including explosive devices, inspecting and recording things like dams, bridges or any other underwater structure or areas that needs to be monitored. The ROV can also be deployed to collect samples or document conditions in underwater environments without risk to divers.

The ROV is housed, maintained and run by the Southwick Police Dive Team. It is available for deployment throughout the region through Southwick Police. See WRHSAC’s Resource Guide for more information.

Special Response Team Equipment

WRHSAC has supported the Berkshire, Franklin and Hampden Counties Special Response Teams (SRT). The SRTs are SWAT type teams which respond in their counties and beyond for mutual aid. Equipment has included tactical armor, ballistic shields, negotiator throw phone, tactical robots and more.