The number and type of EMS responses are numerous and ever changing in scope and complexity. The highly technical and complex nature of the EMS response to hazardous materials releases and technical rescue events presents several challenges. The challenges associated with these responses require the responder involved to receive additional training, specialized protective equipment, and expanded treatment protocols. To provide prompt, compassionate, clinically excellent care to those in need, the EMS System has developed a special team to augment the EMS response capabilities to such events.

The HAMMER Team, commonly referred to as USAR Medics, is this specialized team.

USAR Paramedics are specially trained and equipped to provide specialized care to victims of hazardous materials events and technical rescue situations. They are capable of entering the hot zones of these incidents and initiating care while the victims are still entrapped. The USAR Paramedics are part of two state-sponsored programs, North Carolina Task Force 8 (NCTF) and Regional Response Team 4 (RRT 4).

NCTF 8 is a state-sponsored urban search and rescue team composed of specially trained rescuers from Raleigh Fire Department, Wake County EMS, Chapel Hill Fire Department, Cary Fire Department and Durham Fire Department. NCTF 8 is a NC Type I USAR asset. This team deploys with 75 staff members, several vehicles, and several million dollars' worth of rescue equipment. This team is equipped and trained to handle technical rescue situations including: building collapse, large-area searches, swift water rescue, trench rescue, high-angle rescue and confined-space rescues.

RRT 4 is a state-sponsored hazardous materials response team. This team is composed of responders specially trained in the mitigation of hazardous materials incidents from Raleigh Fire Department with specialized medical support from Wake County EMS. This team responds to hazardous materials incidents in the neighboring counties.

If you are concerned that an actual hazardous materials event may be occurring, dial 9-1-1.  The reference number below is for general team information and should not be used for a real-time situation.

For additional information about the HAMMER Team, please contact:

District Chief Shawn Mitchell