Emergency Response Division
- Special Operations
The Hazardous Materials Team
The Dive Rescue Team
The Technical Rescue Team
The SWAT Medic Team
The Special Operations Section comprises all the
specialty units whose activities include
unconventional operations and tactics other than
fire suppression and emergency medical services.
The Fire Service, and specifically the City of
Miami Fire-Rescue Department, constantly strive
to improve the services to the citizens they
serve. In this ever - changing effort, the
following specialty teams have been established:
Hazardous Materials Team
The Hazardous Materials Team, which is based at
Station 1, was started around 1978. It was one
of the first of its kind established in the
country, and the first in Miami-Dade County. The
Team started as the Special Tactics Team that
was analogous to a Police SWAT team. As the team
evolved, the fire service became increasingly
involved with chemicals and hazardous materials.
The team was renamed the Hazardous Materials
Team. The concept was the brain child of Chief
Herman Brice, who focused on the changing needs
of the community and formed a team that
eventually specialized in the mitigation of
incidents involving hazardous materials or
suspected unknown hazardous materials.
The Hazardous Materials team responds to all
suspicious material calls, as well as spills,
leaks, and breeches of vessels containing
potentially dangerous chemicals or unknown
substances. All HazMat members, including the
Rescue and District Chief, are Hazardous
The team responded to 697 alarms last year. This
was almost twice compared to the previous year.
Most of the alarms were repercussions from the
September 11th tragedy and the anthrax incidents
and confusion that followed.
Following the September 11th attacks, the
Hazardous Materials Team has become increasingly
important in the community. The team has been
intensely involved in the preparation for
responses to incidents involving weapons of mass
Dive Rescue Team
The Dive Rescue Team was initiated in 1993 and
was the result of the many water incidents that
occurred in the City of Miami and its
surrounding waterways. Miami-Dade County already
had a dive team in place and through a joint
cooperation between the City and the County,
particularly the County's Captain Ed Brown, the
City’s team was born.
Miami Fire-Rescue’s Station 5 is the Dive Team’s
base station and has approximately 60 SCUBA
trained divers, including two rescue units.
These specialists respond to any incident that
happens within the city limits. If requested,
the Team could respond in conjunction with Dive
Teams from other municipalities on large scale
incidents, i.e., a plane crash, or where
combined resources would facilitate a better
response. An incident like this happened in the
1990's when a Value Jet airplane crashed in the
Technical Rescue Team
This specialized group of firefighters are
stationed at Miami Fire-Rescue’s Station 6.
These firefighters are trained in several
specialized operations including confined space
rescues, trench rescues, and incidents involving
elevated positions such as cranes or
skyscrapers. This is the newest of the specialty
teams, and was the idea of Lt. Frank Mainade.
This team was established in 2002, and has been
used extensively all over Miami-Dade County. The
Team is one of two in the county; the other
belongs to the Miami-Dade County Fire-Rescue
Department. Once again, through joint
cooperation of Miami-Dade County and the City of
Miami, a new component has been added to better
serve the citizens county-wide and within the
city. The TRT (Technical Rescue Team) is
comprised of 42 men and women trained in
accordance with TRT standards.
SWAT Medic Team
The SWAT Medic Team, created in November, 1979,
is the first fire - based tactical medic team
established in the United States. Members of
this team are specialized paramedic/firefighters
that train and respond with the Miami Police
SWAT Team on tactical operations. Their role is
to provide medical support to the members of the
Miami Police SWAT Team during these operations.
They are also available to provide immediate, on
- the - scene medical aid to citizens if
necessary. This team was formed as a joint
effort to prepare for the many terrorist events
taking place in our country. Chief Michael
Essex, of the Fire-Rescue Department, Chief
Michael Cosgrove, and Lieutenant Robert
Sullivan, of the Miami Police Department were
the architects of this concept.
There are presently 20 SWAT Paramedics assigned
to this team on three shifts.