Special teams are emergency services resources immediately deployable to support incidents, disasters, and other emergencies requiring specialized personnel, equipment, and resources. Such emergencies may include aircraft crashes, water rescues, hazardous material response, medical support of SWAT operations, collapse, rope, confined space rescue, and wildland urban interface fires.
Aircraft Rescue Firefighting The South Metro Fire Rescue Authority’s (SMFRA's) Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Team responds to the second busiest general aviation airport in the country,Centennial Airport. The airport averages just over 360,000 operations a year (a landing or take-off of an aircraft is considered one operation) or just over 900 operations per day. Centennial Airport is operated by the Arapahoe County Public Airport Authority and theFederal Aviation Administration. The airport consists of three runways ranging from 4,800 feet to 10,000 feet in length and they host five fixed-based operators.
Team Members The ARFF Team consists of 40 team members who are specially trained to meet the requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations 14 Federal Aviation Regulation Part 139, and are currently being certified in the State of Colorado ARFF Program. The majority of the team members are assigned to Station 35 (located on the north end of Centennial Airport) and Station 44 (located on the South end of Centennial Airport). There is an average of 13 ARFF Team members on duty each day throughout the fire authority.
The South Metro Fire Rescue Authority ATV / Tracked Vehicle Response Team was created to respond to emergencies in geographical areas that may be inaccessible to standard fire apparatus. Inaccessible geographical areas are considered to be any area with severe terrain that consist of densely populated trees, brush, or rock, and slick or impassable driving conditions caused by mud, ice, extreme weather, deep snow, marsh, or wetland areas.
The ATV / Tracked Vehicle Response team was formed in 1996 and has been deployed and utilized during every major snow storm since. Over the years the citizens of our district have benefited from our proactive stance used during impenetrable snow storms. Stranded medical patients and numerous victims from stranded vehicles buried in deep snow have benefited from the efforts, training, and motivation of our team members.
Presently, the team has a 17 passenger tracked vehicle (snow cat)stocked with the tools and equipment needed to aid in multiple types of rescues.
Year-Round Efforts In addition to snow related emergencies, the snow cat is designed to travel on dry surfaces such as dirt, rock, and pavement. This allows for year-round use of the snow cat to transport fire personnel, equipment, supplies, and patients to and from remote areas for incidents such as downed aircraft, wildland fires, or any incident deemed to be inaccessible by other means.
Dive Rescue Since its inception in the early 1990s, South Metro’s Dive Rescue Team has grown into one of the largest and most technically encompassed dive teams within the state of Colorado. The team consists of 30 members that specialize in a myriad of public safety diving disciplines, all of which were obtained through Dive Rescue International, the industry leader in training and certification for dive rescue specialists. Our dive team is also a major contributor to Metro Dive Rescue, an affiliate team comprised of South Metro, West Metro, and Westminster fire department divers, which together can respond to incidents with over 75 dive specialists.
Assisting Other Agencies South Metro divers have also had the opportunity to assist many other government agencies throughout the state when water-related emergencies have occurred within their jurisdiction. Our divers have deployed and operated in Mesa, Eagle, Routt, Weld, Adams, Park, and Grand counties, among others, as well as assisting the FBI in underwater investigation. These deployments give our members invaluable experience and training, which by association makes our team a better and well rounded group of divers.
Experts in the Field The South Metro divers also employ several technical specialists and subject matter experts within our ranks in order to provide the best service to the citizens of our district. Team members are constantly striving to better themselves through training, education, and the latest in technological equipment in order to serve the citizens of our district, as well as the state of Colorado.
Haz-Mat The Hazardous Materials (Haz-Mat) Team is responsible for hazardous materials identification, hazard / risk assessment, implementation of control procedures, perform containment and confinement operations, render the incident area safe, and perform decontamination procedures at all hazardous materials incidents.
Responses The SMFRA Haz-Mat Team operates as a satellite team within the Arapahoe and Douglas County’s Haz-Mat Response Team. When necessary, units from several agencies combine resources to provide a shared response capability. This response agreement provides a maximum response capability with a minimum cost to the taxpayer.
SWAT Medic The SMFRA SWAT Medic Team consists of line firefighter / paramedics that are trained in tactical medicine. The SWAT Team Medics provide first-line medical care for any injuries during SWAT operations. They protect the lives of fellow team members, civilians, and suspects.
Capabilities The SMFRA SWAT Medic Team has developed an experienced, efficient, highly effective unit capable of providing the response and service needed to keep our communities safe. Each member of the team has successfully completed a basic SWAT school, such as the SWAT Operator Immersion Course at Fort Carson or the ACSO Basic SWAT Academy. In addition each member has completed training in the specifics of tactical medicine in the form of CONTOMS or TEMS certifications.
The SMFRA Technical Rescue Team (SMRTRT) response consists of two Rescue Companies and one Collapse Unit. Station 34 is the quarters of Rescue 34. Station 41 is the quarters for Rescue 41 and Collapse 41.This compliment meets the standards of a FEMA, USAR, Type I Heavy Technical Rescue Team. Team members staffed at the two technical rescue teams are experienced technical rescuers whose mission is to provide exceptional service to the citizens and emergency services agencies of the South Metro Region.
Team Requirements & Certifications SMRTRT members must meet prerequisites that include Colorado State certification as an emergency medical technician, International Fire Service Accreditation Congress certification at the firefighter II level, and Colorado State certification at the hazardous materials operations level. Additionally, team members are required to complete 124 job performance requirements biannually to maintain Technical Rescuer II certification on the team.
USAR (Urban Search & Rescue) SMFRA is a participating agency of the Colorado Urban Search and Rescue Task Force One (CO-TF1). The CO-TF1 organization started in Colorado in 1992. The USAR program started in the late 1980s nationally. Participating departments include Arvada Fire, Aurora Fire, Cunningham Fire, Denver Fire, Fort Carson Fire, Littleton Fire, Longmont Fire, Poudre Fire Authority, South Metro Fire Authority, and Westminster Fire.
Wildland Firefighting The primary role of the Wildland Team is to suppress wildland fires occurring anywhere within the South Metro jurisdiction, and to assist with wildland fire fighting in mutual aid areas. Additionally, many of the team members are sought out as single resources to assist with wildland firefighting and incident management throughout the United States.
Personnel & Apparatus The Wildland Team includes personnel and apparatus from two team-specific stations, Station 39, and Station 43. These fire stations are strategically located where the highest potential for wildfires exists. Personnel at these stations are specially trained in the tactics and equipment required for this type of fire fighting. Additionally, team members are located at various stations throughout the SMFRA jurisdiction to enhance wildland firefighting response.
Firefighter Abilities Wildland firefighters can perform a multitude of tasks to meet fire management and resource objectives. Because of crew structure, training, and experience, they can be used to support large wildland fires, prescribed fires, initial attack, and most other areas of fire and resource management. The crew can work as a unit or can be split up, using different personnel for a variety of tasks.
The Wildland Firefighting Team is responsible for mitigating incidents in areas that are normally very difficult for standard equipped firefighters. This team is specially trained to deal with incidents in open space areas and heavily wooded areas. These incidents usually are not immediately detected causing the fire to grow very large by the time firefighters arrive. These incidents have very large fuel loads and can rapidly advance into homes or neighborhoods.