The Special Operations Chief oversees program administration for several of the department’s specialized emergency response teams and Emergency Medical Services.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
GFR operates non-transport first response Advanced Life Support emergency medical services from its Fire Engines, Aerial Devices, and a Squad. The minimum staffing on each unit includes at least one State-Certified Paramedic. The paramedic is accompanied by an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in the case of the Squad and two to three EMT’s associated with fire Engines or Aerial apparatus.
The emergency medical services provided by GFR are outlined in EMS Protocol and approved by the agency's contracted Medical Director. Through long standing involvement with Alachua County Fire Rescue and the County Emergency Medical Advisory Committee, GFR was able to garner support for its pursuit of State funding for such innovative enhancements as: twelve-lead cardiac monitoring, end tidal capnography, interosseous needle insertion devices, and climate controlled medication storage units. In many instances, GFR has implemented technology in advance of a state directive.
GFR engages in a system of designating its desired level of resource allocation to medical emergencies through a process called “Emergency Medical Dispatch or EMD.” The EMD system also offers the 911 operators the ability to provide pre-arrival medical instructions.
Hazardous Materials Response (Hazmat)
GFR has provided Hazardous Materials Response since the early 70s. The GFR Hazardous Materials Team functions as the core technical response unit for the North Central Florida Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team (NCFRHRT). This coalition was built several years ago due to the efforts of several founding governmental organizations and Dwayne Mundy of the Local Emergency Planning Council (LECP) for Region III in North Central Florida. Current members of this team include: Gilchrist County with response assets in Fanning Springs and Bell, Suwannee County assets in Live Oak, Lake City Fire Department in Lake City, and the Gainesville Fire Rescue Department within the City of Gainesville. The team has responded to numerous incidents since the group’s inception.
GFR also serves as one of the state’s Hazmat Type II WMD Response Teams. Members participate in regular training to maintain the various competencies required of those engaged at this level of mitigation responsibility and preparedness.
GFR was a founding member of the Tri-State Coalition for Hazardous Materials Response that involved agency members from various organizations within Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.
Light Technical Rescue Response (LTRT)
GFR has the ability to respond to local incidents requiring specialized rescue services. Services required are those generally found in relation to unique situations presenting the need for; rope rescue, confined space rescue, structural collapse search and rescue, trench collapse rescue, and heavy vehicle and machinery rescue. These members engage in in-station weekly training to ensure abilities are maintained and tools and equipment remain in a state of readiness for immediate deployment.
Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)
GFR has been designated to serve as part of the North Central Florida Disaster Task Force known as Task Force 8 (TF8). TF8 is a multi-agency Urban Search and Rescue Team and is one of the state’s nine specialized assets for heavy technical rescue extended operations.
Team members have completed technician level certification on all five core disciplines found within NFPA 1670 and are designated as Rescue Specialists.
Members of this team have responded to significant events including, but not limited to, Biloxi and Waveland, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina's landfall in 2005.
Tactical Medical Support Team (TMST)
GFR provides tactical medical response under an agreement for services with our local law enforcement colleagues. The TMST group works closely with the Alachua County Sherriff’s Office and Gainesville Police Department. TMST members attend regular SWAT training at both agencies for integration of operations. TMST members are equipped with ballistic protection and advanced life support supplies and equipment.
If you would like to find out more about our program, have a site available for training, or wish to assist us with a donation for additional equipment and/or training in support of your community, please contact Special Operations Chief Don Sessions at 334-5078.