Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Provincial Resources for Urban Search and Rescue, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive, And Hazardous Materials Incidents

Communiqué du commissaire des incendies


Communiqué 2020-01

January 8, 2020

This communiqué supersedes Fire Marshal’s Communiqué 2016-05 issued January 18, 2016, and provides updated information for fire departments to request and access provincial resources for:

  • Large scale or complex natural or human caused incidents requiring Urban Search and Rescue (USAR). The primary purpose is to locate and extricate victims trapped in collapsed structures, provide immediate medical treatment to survivors, and conduct other life‐saving operations.
  • Large scale or complex Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, or Explosive (CBRNE) incidents, and incidents involving hazardous materials/dangerous goods.

Please refer to Appendix A for the list of teams.

Process to Request and Access the Team(s)

Requests and access for provincial resources can be made by a fire department when the incident is beyond:

  • Their own capabilities;
  • Existing fire protection agreements; and,
  • The capabilities of the local county/district/region mutual aid system.

Please note, a municipality does not have to declare an emergency in order request and access the teams.

Fire departments must utilize the following process in order to request and access the Provincial Team(s):

  1. The local fire department must contact their Mutual Aid Fire Co-ordinator to determine local response capabilities under Mutual Aid or other agreements.
  2. Once the Fire Department and Fire Co-ordinator have determined that the incident requires provincial assistance, the Fire Co-ordinator will contact the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) and provide information about the emergency incident in accordance with the Fire Co-ordinator’s field guide.
    • PEOC telephone number: 416-314-0472 or 1-866-314-0472 (toll free).
  3. The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) will:
    • Contact the Fire Co-ordinator to determine what assistance and resources are required.
    • Determine what level of provincial response is appropriate.
    • Initiate contact with the Provincial Team(s).
    • Provide an update to the Fire Co-ordinator. In addition to the teams, the OFMEM – Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit (EPRU) coordinates programming, provides specialized equipment and advice. When a team is deployed, EPRU provides on-scene support to teams and requesting fire departments.

For non-emergency information on the provincial resources regarding USAR, CBRNE and HazMat incidents, please contact the OFMEM at or by telephone at 647- 329-1100 or 1-800-565-1842.

Appendix A

The Province of Ontario has memorandums of understanding/agreements with municipal fire departments across Ontario as follows:

Urban Search and Rescue Teams

Urban Search and Rescue Teams (Technician Level) Response Level
Toronto Heavy USAR Team
Ottawa Medium USAR Team
Thunder Bay Light USAR Team
Windsor Light USAR Team

Urban Search and Rescue Teams

Hazardous Materials Response Teams- HMRT  (Technician Level) Response Level
Ottawa Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Toronto Explosive (CBRNE) Teams
North Bay Hazardous Materials Teams
Thunder Bay