The Special Operations Section is part of the Operations Bureau which includes the following services:
- Bike medics
- Confined spaces
- Emergency medical services
- Fire and explosive services
- Hazardous materials
- Marine operations
- Rope rescue
- Tactical medics
This team was initially formed as a rescue team to respond to; vehicle accidents, confined space rescues, rope rescues and ice emergencies. The Hazardous Materials portion of the team came about due to the white powder incidents prior to 9/11. During powder incidents the city was put on a waiting list based on priority from other jurisdictions. This meant that we were waiting for hours at time for a response from a hazardous materials team. Based on this extended wait period the City of Annapolis determined it was more efficient to form a Hazardous Materials Team.
The majority of the funding for Hazardous Materials Response is funded through grants. The Hazardous Materials Team response allows an incident to be resolved quickly; opening streets, buildings and returning businesses to normal operations. The Hazardous Materials Team has the capability to determine whether a substance is hazardous, biologic, radiological or a chemical warfare agent.
This team operates out of the Taylor Avenue Station. These are specialty trained firefighters whom are capable of handling all-hazard incidents. With the threat of terrorism, this team has been trained to handle incidents involving Weapons of Mass Destruction. While trained to handle these incidents, most common responses include; gas and chemical odors, suspicious powers, chemical spills, etc. These are collateral duties for the personnel assigned to this station which normally operate an engine and truck company. The team is currently considered a Type 1 hazmat Team under Federal guidelines.
The City of Annapolis has a robust maritime community with 20 miles of waterfront. The City is host to the Annapolis Power and Sailboat Shows which are billed as the largest in-water boat shows in the Country. Annapolis is home to over 20 marinas with millions of dollars worth of marine vessels. To protect our citizens, the Annapolis Fire Department operates a fire/rescue boat. The fire boat is located at the Annapolis City Marina and is staffed by the crew from the Eastport Fire Station. These are collateral duties for the personnel assigned to this station.
The Annapolis Fire Department provides tactical medics for the Annapolis Police SWAT Team. These medics are trained in tactical medicine to operate in hostile environments such as; active shooters, hostage/barricades and high risk warrant services. These are collateral duties assigned to certain paramedics from our Operations Section. The team originated in the late 1980s after several Annapolis Police Officers were shot during a high risk warrant service. Tactical medics have been able to perform immediate advanced medical care to both wounded officers and injured civilians since being formed.
The Annapolis Fire Department has a bike medic program used for special events that include large crowds and limited access areas. The Bike Team is fully equipped to handle advance life support medical incidents and can quickly respond during events such as July 4th, New Years Eve, Naval Academy Graduation, marathons and other races throughout the City. These are collateral duties assigned to certain paramedics from our Operations Section. The original bikes are still in service and were purchased through public support and the Annapolis Optimist Club.
Special Events Units
The Annapolis Fire Department operates 2 all terrain vehicles for special events. These units are owned by the Eastport Volunteer Fire Department. One vehicle is a Polaris 6x6 with a portable water tank, pump and hose as well as a patient transport section. The second unit is a Polaris 4x4 with a utility body. Each can be fully equipped to handle advance life support medical incidents and can quickly respond during special throughout the City. These are collateral duties assigned to personnel from our Operations Section.