Rescue Division

June 2, 2017
The Rescue Division provides quality pre-hospital medical care and assists in the suppression of fire and containment of hazardous materials incidents.

The Rescue Division saves lives every day in Jacksonville by providing 24-hour emergency medical service throughout 840-square miles of territory. In 2018, the men and women of the Rescue Division responded to more than 129,000 EMS calls and transported nearly 83,000 patients to hospital emergency rooms.

Jacksonville has been at the national forefront in the development of the modern rescue service since 1967, when then-Mayor Hans Tanzler ordered the fire department to begin providing emergency ambulance service in the wake of a city dispute with the private ambulance companies and local funeral homes that had been providing that service. Working with area doctors, the department began the unprecedented step of training Rescue crews in advanced emergency medical procedures; developed and equipped the modern rescue vehicle commonly seen on the streets today; and became a national model for advanced life support units and prehospital emergency treatment. The Rescue Division recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2017 as the first specialized division of the JFRD and the first-ever “fire-based” EMS transport service in the world.

Today, the Rescue Division has 56 Advanced Life Support transport units strategically placed throughout Jacksonville. EMS training consists of advanced cardiac life support, basic life support, CPR, advanced airway management, stroke and myocardial infarction training and more. On every emergency medical service call, the department sends fire apparatus and a rescue unit. In January 2017, every JFRD fire engine, squad, ladder truck, and marine vessel was outfitted with advanced life support equipment. In addition, at least one paramedic is assigned to these units 24/7. With EMS calls for service comprising more than 85 percent of JFRD's daily call volume, the department's primary goal is to begin emergency medical treatment as quickly as possible. When life hangs in the balance, every second counts.

The Rescue Division is also home to the S.W.A.T Medic tactical operations team that works in conjunction with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office S.W.A.T Team. Tactical Medical team members are all certified reserve police officers trained for inner perimeter and entry cell operations. The division is also home to the Bicycle Emergency Response Team (BERT) and JFRD Honor Guard. The BERT provides emergency medical services at special events throughout Jacksonville in venues and areas unreachable by a conventional fire/rescue apparatus. The JFRD Honor Guard proudly serves at JFRD recruit graduation ceremonies and at the funerals of active and retired fallen firefighters.

The Rescue Division is under the supervision of Chief David Castleman.


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