The Homeland Security/Hazardous Materials Section was created in 1995 in response to Presidential Decision Directive 39, outlining the need for the Department to plan, organize and direct its members in preparing and responding to any large scale terrorist incident in the Los Angeles County Operational Area. Originally known as the “Terrorism Section,” its initial task was to prepare the Department’s first responders for the job of terrorism consequence management. During the initial years, equipment was purchased through a number of federal grants and in-service training was first provided in 1997 throughout the organization. Since its formation, over $10 million in grants have funded the expansion of the program, including ongoing maintenance of specialized skills through continuing education, procurement and replacement of equipment and maintaining the records required by alternative funding sources.
The Homeland Security Section was born out of necessity in response to the community’s concerns that emergency responders need to be fully equipped and trained to deal with a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive event. Today, all County firefighters and other emergency responders have the necessary personnel protective equipment and the training to respond safely and effectively to an event of this type.