Special Operations are defined as “unconventional” incidents or events that require special equipment, training and operational skills. All Springfield firefighters are first trained as “conventional” firefighters and respond to:
- emergency medical calls
- traffic accidents
- fire alarms
- service calls
Seasoned personnel can fill positions on teams within the Special Operations Division:
- Water Rescue
- Hazardous Materials
- Technical Rescue
- Bomb Squad
The Water Rescue team was formed in 1990 to address issues involved with flooding and swift water rescues. If you like being too hot, too cold and wet while working in extreme weather, this is the job for you!
Water Rescue highlights & resources include:
- response to moving water incidents, usually involving a stranded motorist or someone swept away in current
- ice rescue for those who fall through the ice
- two power inflatable rescue boats
- applicants must undergo physical testing to ensure they are suitable for this type of work
- training period is one year
Also formed in 1990, our Hazardous Materials or “Hazmat” team is called to mitigate incidents involving the release of materials that are considered hazardous, either to people or the environment. They respond to calls ranging from natural gas leaks to train derailments. Often wearing their spacesuit-like protection, the team utilizes special equipment to
- identify unknown substances
- stop or control leaks
- decontaminate people and equipment
- render a substance harmless by neutralizing it
By continually training, the team stays current on the latest threats.
Twenty-one specialists comprise our Technical Rescue team. They are equipped and trained to handle incidents involving:
- rescue from collapsed trenches and excavations
- collapsed buildings
- confined spaces
- high and low angle rope rescues
Aside from technical rescue, they are assigned to our heavy rescue vehicles that respond to fires, motor vehicle accidents and other routine calls for service. A few also augment the staffing for Missouri Task Force 1, a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force based in Boone County. They can provide assistance during major disasters anywhere in the US.
Many of these technicians serve as instructors to emergency service providers both within Missouri and in other states.
Suspicious packages or known explosive devices which threaten public safety are handled by our federally trained Explosives and Ordinance (EOD) disposal technicians, known as the “bomb squad”. Aside from bomb related work, they work as investigators, inspectors and plans reviewers for the Fire Prevention Division.