The Colorado Springs Fire Department is implementing a first-ever for the department Special Operations Unit. The unit will be a team of three, including one captain and two lieutenants to allow for the position to be staffed 24hours across three shifts. This newly created position will carry out several duties including drone operations, public information officer support, incident safety officer, and health and wellness officer.
Adopting this position will allow a drone to be deployed 24 hours a day, seven days a week for incidents throughout the Pikes Peak Region. This will give firefighters a different perspective and view of emergency incidents. Some drone missions include lost or missing hikers/climbers, smoke investigations, structure/wildland fires, high-angle rescues, and swift water rescues.
"We're really excited about being able to have this technology available 24/7," said Fire Chief Randy Royal. " We know that it's going to be useful in both detecting and fighting wildland fires and will give us valuable information on those fires along with rescues and structures fires. We believe it's going to bring improved capabilities in being able to help us keep the public safe."
Special Operations personnel will also act as PIO support and will cover emergent incidents in the city. They will work hand in hand with the civilian PIO to provide the best support to the community and media partners.
The Special Operations Unit will be trained as incident safety officers. The CSFD already has two companies that provide safety officer duties on working fire scenes. Special Operations will enhance the ability to cover all calls that require safety officers. The duties of a safety officer include mitigating any hazards firefighters might face while operating in a variety of environments. Incidents the unit will respond to as safety officers include traffic accidents with trapped parties, wildland fires, high-angle rescues, and technical rescues.
"The safety of our firefighters, along with their overall health and wellness, both physically and mentally is our number one priority," said Deputy Chief of Operations, Jayme McConnellogue. "The addition of the special operations unit will enhance our capability to serve the public in their time of need by ensuring strong and reliant firefighters that are ready to perform in inherently dangerous situations."
The health and wellness portion of this position is continuing to develop.
The Special Operations Unit will go into service on August 16th and will be responding out of Station 8.