BAY RIDGE - A Fort Hamilton-based National Guard unit set to respond to the threat of weapons of mass destruction has been approved by the federal government.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team is New York's only local security task force, prepared to respond to major incidents anywhere in the city. Its members have been training for three years and the Department of Defense gave them the green light to get to work earlier today.

If hazardous materials are found, the unit says it is equipped to arrive within 90 minutes to assist first responders.

The unit is the 56th team nationwide to be certified by the Department of Defense. Congress has authorized 57 units nationally.