Fire Suppression and Protection
BSO's Department of Fire Rescue operates 22 stations for fire suppression (17 engine companies, 7 aerial companies, 23 ALS transport rescues) in locations throughout Broward County. All stations also operate as Advanced Life Support companies, staffed with firefighter / paramedics and a full complement of advanced life support equipment and medications. The department also operates four regional service delivery teams: Technical Rescue, Hazardous Materials, Air Rescue and Everglades Rescue. BSO operates the only fulltime fire boat in South Florida.
Engine companies carry water hose and supplies and are capable of pumping enormous amounts of water required to fight fires. An engine company is staffed with at least one lieutenant or captain in charge of the crew, a driver / engineer (pump operator) and a firefighter to delivery advanced life support services prior to the arrival of a rescue unit. A minimum of one crew member is also cross-trained as a paramedic. Rescue units are staffed with a lieutenant or captain and at least one firefighter / paramedic. BSO maintains only dual-certified firefighter / paramedic personel on its rescue vehicles.
Ladder companies, with the same staffing as engine companies, provide aerial support at incidents, allowing firefighters to operate at higher elevations. The department also operates "Quints," a combination of ladder trucks and traditional engines. Every aerial apparatus is equiped with advanced life support equipement and medications.
Engine and ladder companies respond to calls for service in unincorporated Broward and in cities with which the department has contract agreements for service. They also support surrounding communities when circumstances require additional assistance. Firefighters are called upon to extinguish fires, ventilate buildings and perform search and rescue operations, and are trained to handle incidents involving buildings, vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, fuel spills and more.
Typically, a first-alarm residential fire assignment requires three engines, an aerial unit, a rescue unit and a battalion chief. A working fire usually includes a second battalion chief response. Commercial fires and additional alarm assignments require additional apparatus, personnel, support functions and additional command officers. Because multiple tasks must be handled expeditiously and safely (establishing water supply, forcibly entering a structure, developing fire attack strategies, conducting search and rescue operations, ventilating, supervision by the safety and accountability officers), 15 firefighters are generally required for an initial response.
Firefighters work in a traditional three-platoon system, 24 hours on-duty / 48 hours off-duty, and participate in continuing training and education programs. Recruits undergo 450 hours of training, testing and skills assessment at the Broward Fire Academy in Davie, Florida and must be fully certified as a firefighter / paramedic before being assigned to a company.
Translate This Page: