Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Incident Commander

Course Overview

The Incident Commander is responsible for directing and/or controlling resources by virtue of explicit legal, agency, or delegated authority, as well as the overall management of the response.

This course supplies the Incident Commander with the knowledge and skills to perform his/her role as the person responsible for all decisions relating to the management of the incident at releases or potential releases of hazardous materials. The student will learn about applicable laws and regulations, organizational functions with the Incident Management System, and the overall tactics to properly mitigate a hazardous materials incident.

This HAZMAT Incident Commander course builds upon previous NIMS and ICS courses to provide position specific training by providing government and private industry emergency responders with a robust understanding of the duties, responsibilities, and capabilities of an effective Incident Commander (IC) with a focus on HAZMAT incidents. These responsibilities generally fall into two categories:

  1. responding to the incident and command needs of the incident; and
  2. effectively fulfilling the position responsibilities of an IC on an ICS Incident Management Team (IMT).

This course is an instructor-led training that supports learning through discussion, lecture, and active participation in multiple exercises that provides a realistic, scenario-driven approach to mastering the skills required of an IC.

Specific Course Topics

  • Review applicable laws and regulations that apply to HAZMAT response and Command
  • HAZMAT Incident Commander characteristics, leadership attributes, roles, and responsibilities
  • HAZMAT incident assessment, situational awareness concepts, and response activities
  • Key HAZMAT response organizational functions and their relationship with Command
  • Relationships and interactions with staff and other stakeholders
  • Incident complexity concepts and how they relate to a HAZMAT Incident Commander
  • Defining hazardous materials
  • Executive level interactions
  • Command’s direction
  • Exercise Learning Components
  • Meetings, Briefings and Support Activities
  • Incorporating contingency plan information into a HAZMAT response
  • IAP Prep and Approval
  • Executing Plan and Assessing Progress
  • External Coordination
  • Transitioning, De-escalation, and Demobilization

Target Audience

Response personnel assuming the role as an Incident Commander on a Hazardous Materials incident.


Duration: Three days (24 hours)

Pre-requisite (recommended)

Successful completion of ICS-300 and experience in a Command or General Staff position on an incident 


  • HAZMAT Incident Commander Training Manual
  • Scenario handouts


  • None