Special Operations

The Special Operations Group (SOG) consists of eight specialty teams, three specialty programs, and additional projects as assigned by Employee Services, Emergency Services, and the Operations Division. There are over 350 members of the SOG, some of which are cross-functional team members. The SOG Chief has 12 direct reports for team operations, finances, training, and stakeholder (internal and external) relationships. In 2023, the SOG offered approximately 2,061 hours of scheduled training across the eight teams.

The SOG teams and programs are managed utilizing a tiered approach. A special operations leadership team has been developed and includes the special operations chief and the team coordinators. Additionally, the captains of additional team stations are part of this team. In 2021, the leadership team has been charged with developing a management structure of their teams that is consistent across the department’s special teams and includes every member bid for specialty seats. This level of management is responsible for the day-to-day operations and deployment of team members to incidents as well as the development of the team budget annually.

The SOG Chief is responsible for coaching, mentoring, development, and succession planning of the teams and programs of special operations. Additionally, they cultivate external stakeholder relationships and develop partnerships to further effective operations throughout the jurisdiction. Examples of this external collaboration include the acquisition of Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) burn props, the development of the South Area Special Operations Chiefs group, and the reinstatement of the SWAT Medic program.

Special Operations consists of twelve teams that support fire suppression and EMS and other day-to-day operations of the Department from eleven stations and two workshops.

Five Response Teams

  • Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF)
  • Water Rescue (Dive)
  • Hazardous Materials (HazMat)
  • Technical Rescue
  • Wildland Firefighting and Mitigation

Four Deployment Teams

  • Ceremonial (Honor Guard and Pipes and Drums)
  • SWAT Paramedics
  • Urban Search and Rescue

Three Operational Support Teams

  • Extrication
  • Research and Development
  • Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus

Firefighters going into airplane fireSouth Metro provides ARFF coverage to Centennial Airport located in Centennial, CO. Centennial Airport is the second busiest general aviation airport in the country with an average of 325,000 operations a year. South Metro has two designated ARFF Stations. Stations 35 and 44 have firefighters who are specifically trained in ARFF and respond in three front-line ARFF-specific apparatuses that carry specialized tools, water, foam, and Purple K. The ARFF team also has a ready reserve ARFF apparatus that is utilized during routine maintenance of front-line apparatus and for training at the ARFF Training Facility located on the grounds of Centennial Airport.

In addition to providing ARFF coverage to aircraft, South Metro also covers the hangars, businesses, and fuel farms that make up Centennial Airport. The ARFF team will also respond to aircraft accidents that happen off the airfield within South Metro’s jurisdiction and surrounding districts through auto or mutual aid agreements.