MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government and the City of Moncton have finalized an agreement to expand the provincial Hazardous Materials Response program to southeastern New Brunswick.

The province will provide about $100,000 in annual funding for the service and members of the Moncton Fire Department have begun training. The addition follows an assessment that looked at the region’s industrial base and transportation networks.

“The provincial government is pleased to expand this program into the Moncton region. Specially trained responders will be able to serve southeastern New Brunswick and provide support for emergencies elsewhere in the province,” said Public Safety Minister Bill Hogan.

“The Moncton Fire Department is looking forward to adding this specialty. It is exciting to expand our skillset to better protect the environment and people in the region. Our team is also eager to support the other hazmat teams across the province,” said Moncton Fire Department Chief Conrad Landry.

Hazmat teams fall into one of two categories: scout and heavy. Heavy teams already operate in Fredericton and Saint John. Scout teams operate in Edmundston and Bathurst.

A scout team consists of two hazmat technicians. They are called upon to investigate an incident or assist in controlling a situation to render it safe. Heavy teams are comprised of up to 12 members. They are called upon to mitigate a significant emergency or assist in controlling a situation to render it safe.

“Hazardous materials incidents come in all shapes and sizes, but in all cases response time is crucial to minimizing the impact. Adding a team in a growing region of the province is a tremendous boost,” said fire marshal Michael Lewis.

A video outlining the program and its expansion into Moncton is available online.