The Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Response Team is located in the center of the city. The primary function of the Hazardous Materials Response Team is to supply the department with technical expertise, knowledge, skills, and abilities during incidents involving hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction. The Newport News Fire Department participates as part of a statewide hazardous materials response system that can be requested through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) whenever hazard mitigation, technical assistance, or advice is needed. Through an agreement with VDEM, the Newport News Hazardous Materials Team serves as the primary Regional Response Team for the peninsula and surrounding localities. The Fire Department maintains 10 hazardous materials specialists / technicians per shift with a minimum of 6 on duty 24/7.