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Department of Homeland Security Shield / FEMA
Center for
Domestic Preparedness

Chemical Operations Support Specialist

39.5 Contact Hours


Course Purpose. During chemical emergencies, routine decisions and operations for Federal, State, local, territorial, and tribal (FSLTT) response agencies become increasingly complex. These actions require chemical experts to safeguard the public and workers/responders. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Office of Response and Recovery, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Office will manage the Chemical Operations Support Specialist (COSS) program in order train, equip, and qualify specialists to integrate within the Incident Command System (ICS) and Emergency Operations/Coordination Centers (EOC/ECC) during responses to chemical incidents. The COSS position will directly support the Incident Commander (IC), agency decision makers, and elected officials at the Incident Command Post (ICP) or at the Emergency Operations Center/Emergency Coordination Centers (EOC/ECC).

Target Audience

Target Audience. HazMat Technicians, Certified Industrial Hygienists, Environmental Health Specialists, Toxicologists, Epidemiologists, Quantitative Risk Assessors (QRA), transportation safety specialist, certified hazmat shipper, and chemical specialists to become candidates for the Type 3 Chemical Operations Support Specialist (COSS) position.  It is expected that candidates should already be a chemical subject matter expert or hazmat officer with at least 5 years’ experience and training that goes beyond standard HAZMAT technician training. A typical candidate could be a chemical safety officer with emergency response experience who has worked with Federal or State chemical response assets. 

Prerequisites and Requirements

Course Prerequisites. To be eligible to attend the course, a student must complete the following:

  • FEMA ICS 300: Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents
  • FEMA IS-700: National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction
  • FEMA IS-800: An Introduction to the National Response Framework
  • HazMat Technician level training following the NFPA 472 and 1072 standards
  • Must have a working knowledge and basic competency in WISER and CAMEO

The following is highly recommended:

  • FEMA ICS 400: Advanced ICS Command and General Staff for Complex Incidents
  • TEEX MGT 314, Enhanced All Hazards Incident Management/Unified Command
  • NFA RO233, Chemistry for Emergency Response
  • SERTC PER 292, Advanced Life Support: Leadership and Management of Surface Transportation Incidents (LMSTI)
  • HazMat Officer or Certified Industrial Hygienist

Students should also have access to the following account (although, this may be attained during the first day of training): ChemResponder

Exceptions to any of the above prerequisites may be granted on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the CDP Registrar in collaboration with the FEMA CBRN office.

Continuing Education Credits

Continuing Education Units or Academic Equivalency. As an International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) Authorized Provider, the Center for Domestic Preparedness awards 4.0 continuing education units for this program under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/IACET Standard.