Technical Hazards Response

Hazardous Evidence Collection

The Technical Hazards Response Unit (THRU) is responsible for protecting over 1,800 men and women in the Laboratory Division’s Forensic Response Portfolio by providing on-site expertise in health and safety matters, paramedic medical care, complex evidence access, and operational logistics, as well as delivering accredited health and safety training. The unit manages all safety equipment utilized by the field Evidence Response Teams (ERTs) and Hazardous Evidence Response Teams (HERTs), as well as the Laboratory Division’s regional response infrastructure. 

Who We Are 

THRU personnel come from diverse health and safety, public safety, and military backgrounds. They are trained and certified in a variety of specialized areas, including emergency medicine; paramedic medical care; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) occupational safety and health; and adult education. Most operational personnel are classified as physical security specialists with an emphasis in hazardous materials, but the unit also houses specialists in logistics and telecommunications and management and program analysts who provide administrative support.

What We Do 

When the FBI’s forensic responders encounter complex, high-hazard crime scenes, THRU provides the health and safety, evidence access, and logistical support necessary to collect evidence in a variety of unsafe environments. This includes traditional hazardous crime scenes, like supporting the collection of CBRN evidence or supporting the processing of a crime scene involving unknown toxins.

The unit also supports other evidence collection hazards, such as treacherous or physically inaccessible crime scenes, including those located in high-altitude environments or amid rocky or rough terrain; evidence searches in confined space locations, like rocky crevices or septic tanks; or dive medic support to underwater search operations in rivers, lakes, or ponds.

THRU operational personnel also support the Laboratory Shooting Reconstruction Team and, when necessary, transport hazardous evidence from crime scenes or between partner laboratories. The unit takes part in inter-agency exercises for CBRN events and provides support to national special events as part of specialized inter-agency teams.

Additionally, THRU personnel develop and instruct both FBI and state and local public safety personnel in specialized training that meets the standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). This includes courses that are Federal Law Enforcement Training Board-accredited and meet nationally recognized professional standards. On average, THRU training personnel support 70 courses annually, through which approximately 1,300 students receive specialized training.

Depiction of a physical security specialist from the Technical Hazards Response Unit (THRU).