To mitigate any and all emergency situations affecting our community, to secure a safe environment, and to provide valued community services.
What The Operations Division Is All About
The Operations Division is the largest section of the Colorado Springs Fire Department. The 400+ men and women assigned to "Ops" provide all the emergency response activities that the Department is tasked to do as well as a great deal of non-emergency work provided by the CSFD. Firefighters work 56 hours a week in rotating 24-hour shifts. There are three basic "teams" - the A, B, and C Shifts. These personnel staff and operate the following:
Emergency Responses to:
High Angle Rescue
High Angle Rescue became a reality in 1979 when the City annexed the Cheyenne Canyon area and it became necessary to provide safe and efficient evacuation of climbers in the Cheyenne Canon and Garden of the Gods areas. Due to the influx of technical and amateur climbers in the region and roll-over accidents in the Gold Camp Road area, the program was established with three goals: safety, efficiency, and standardization.
The High Angle Team is the result of formalizing the services we were already providing to the citizens and visitors. We average 30 actual rescues per year with Engine 5 and Engine 13 due to their respective response districts to those areas. Heavy Rescue 9 is the back-up unit for the High Angle Teams.
This team is trained in Dive, Ice, and Swift Water Rescue, Confined Space and Trench Rescue, High Angle, and Auto Extrication. This team is highly trained and qualified in all types of complex rescue techniques. Many of the team are FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) certified for large disasters, nationally and locally, and participate in Colorado Task Force 1, the regional Urban Search and Rescue team. This unit is the department?s designated RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) which responds to all "working" fires to perform the most difficult rescues of other firefighters or civilians. This program became a reality in 1994 with training and certification in specialty techniques as recent at 1997. Our Department received a state-of-the-art heavy rescue vehicle (HR7) in May of 1998. It was specifically built for our equipment and is a one-of-a-kind unit.
Trauma Squad (Tactical Enforcement Medical Squad)
The primary mission of the Trauma Squad is to respond to medical emergencies. It is located on the busiest corridor of the city - central Academy Boulevard.
Other aspects of this program are to provide a fertile training ground for the Paramedic Trainees on the Department, provide medical response on-site at large community events, and to provide medical rehabilitation support to our firefighters during large incidents. We also respond in mutual aid to bordering fire-fighting agencies to assist and monitor the rehabilitation of their firefighters during large structure or Wildland fires. The Trauma Squad can be state certified to transport as an ambulance if necessary as it is equipped with a full complement of Advanced Life Saving (ALS) equipment, including medications and a bed.
The Trauma Squad provides medical support for all "high risk police and sheriff's operations" that call for the activation of either the Tactical Enforcement Unit (TEU) or Explosives Unit (examples: high-risk warrant services [no knocks], a hostage situation with shots fired, possible explosive device found, etc.).
Fire Department team members are certified through Counter Narcotics Tactical Operations Medical Support (CONTOMS), a Federal program that trains Paramedics to treat injuries or extricate victims during Police TEU operations, including "hot zone" scenarios. When we receive a call for the Fire TEU to accompany law enforcement officers, the Trauma Squad is staffed with four specially CONTOMS-trained personnel, two for the entry team and two for the back-up team. The Trauma Squad is usually staffed with a Paramedic, a Lieutenant, and an EMT or Paramedic Trainee until a call for a TEU is received. Staffing is then adjusted to only CONTOMS-trained personnel.
Wildland Firefighting Team
This team was formed in 1990 to provide initial Wildland attack in the city of Colorado Springs and to any area threatened by fire that may damage property belonging to the City of Colorado Springs. The Tactical Urban Brush vehicle (WLD4) was purchased and placed into service in October of 1997. It is a 4x4 Engine capable of water delivery at a rate of 300 gallons per minute (gpm) and has a water tank with 500-gallon capacity.
Trained firefighters can deliver water, construct handline, provide "burning out" or "firing" type operations using drip torches. Wildland 4 is for rapid strike on isolated or remote fires in the Urban Interface or for technical assistance to any fire company or agency that makes a request of the Fire Department. Wildland 4 also is an anchor point for wildland fire operations. This vehicle is capable of transporting six firefighters and their equipment to wildland fires.
The Wildland Team is comprised of 60 firefighters from the CSFD, 7 Parks and Recreation Department employees, 7 employees from Colorado Springs Utilities Water Resources Department, 5 from Colorado Springs Utilities Electric Department and 3 employees from the Pikes Peak Highway. Each member must be certified annually for fitness and training. We participate in Wildland "managed burns" for mutual aid to provide resources and for mutual training. Calls average one per month for mutual aid.
In the year 2000, the Wildland Team responded task forces to the High Meadow fire in Bailey, Colorado and to the wildfire in Mesa Verde National Park where the team was assigned to protection of the buildings housing many of the parks most valuable artifacts. The individuals that responded served with distinction and all the costs were borne by the US Government through the Forest Service.
The Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Team works in a cooperative effort with city, county, state, and federal governments on environmental regulations and code compliance issues as well as response to and mitigation of hazardous materials spills/releases.
The Colorado Springs Fire Department is the Designated Emergency Response Agency (DERA) for incidents occurring within the corporate limits of the city and has mutual aid response agreements with all surrounding fire departments and military installations. The HazMat Team is comprised of 34 firefighters who are trained and certified to the "Technician Level" as defined in O.S.H.A. 29 CFR 1910.120.
The HazMat Team responds to spills/releases of all types of hazardous materials to include radioactive shipments, such as transuranic waste traveling along the I-25 corridor, as part of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) program. In addition, the HazMat Team takes an active role in coordinating and participating in the annual Hazardous Waste Collection Days, held each April and August to provide an opportunity for individuals and businesses to dispose of waste chemicals, insecticides, paint, tires, oil, and batteries.
The Colorado Springs Fire Department supports and plays an integral role in many "special events" occurring in the community throughout the year.
"Do the Right Thing"
This program was initiated in 1997 for Heavy Rescue and really got rolling in 1998. The Fire Department's "Do the Right Thing" program is an auto-extrication demonstration that we take to area high schools.
The program provides a graphically visual demonstration of the effects of drinking/drug usage, especially during the prom and graduation season, for high school seniors and juniors. Several of the most popular or well-known students in each school's student body are selected to be the mock victims of a car crash. They are made up with realistic simulated injuries by a professional moulage artist and placed in two vehicles that have been arranged to simulate a wreck. Vehicles have been provided by P & L Scrap and taken to and removed from the school site by Randy's High Country Towing. Firefighters "respond" to remove the victims from the autos and perform lifesaving techniques on them in front of the student body audience.