that there are incidents that require special mitigation needs, The Montgomery
County Fire-Rescue Service operates multiple “Specialty Teams”.
under the county’s Special Operations Command, each team is designed to answer
a specific type of incident need. These teams include the Hazardous Incident
Response Team (Haz-Mat), The Urban Search And Rescue Team (USAR), and the River
Rescue And Tactical Services Team (RRATS). While primarily responsible for
response within Montgomery County, these teams will also respond to neighboring
jurisdictions to assist on large scale incidents.
Spring’s Special Operations Division houses a component of the River Rescue and
Tactical Services Team. Additionally Sandy Spring’s Special Operations are
trained and certified as Wildland Firefighters with particular interest in the
Wildland Urban Interface.
RRATS Team is comprised of Swift Water Rescue Technicians (SRTs) who specialize
in River, Flood, and Ice Rescue. While this team’s main component is housed in
Cabin John along the Potomac River, Sandy Spring’s RRATS cover the North-East
Side of the county along the Patuxent and Hawlings River Basins. During periods
of heavy rain or tropical depressions the team will become a dedicated water
asset, Meaning while others staff the regular apparatus such as the ambulances
or fire engines, the RRATS personnel will only staff the boats. This ensures
they are available for response should there be a water related emergency such
as flooding, or stranded motorists in swift or high water.
Spring’s SRTs are also responsible for emergencies on our local bodies of water
used for recreation and fishing. Included is the Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge
Reservoirs, Lake Hallowell, The small lakes in Olney Mill and Olney Manor Park,
Lake Needwood, and Lake Bernard Frank. These areas combined equal approximately
2,500 acres of water.
special operations personnel are required to train monthly, this is above their
normal fire rescue training and stand-by requirements. They train with other
departments such as Cabin John Park, and Germantown in various bodies of water
to ensure they have a diverse knowledge of the county’s rivers, lakes, and low
lying flood prone areas.
dedicated, professional rescuers make it their goal to ensure that Sandy Spring
provides the best service it can to you… our neighbors, friends, and families.
the Sandy Spring Vol. Fire Dept. Special Operations fleet consists of the
2012 17 ft DIB Chesapeake Model Inflatable Rescue Boat. (Flat Bottom, 80hp Jet
1990 10 ft Avon Inflatable Rescue Boat.
740 & 740-Bravo: Two All Terrain Vehicles, one equipped for EMS and patient
transport, and the other set up for brush fire suppression.
S.O.D. members certified as Swift Water Rescue Technicians operate at 1901 Brighton Dam Rd. to rescue a motorist stranded in the swift flood waters of the HawlingsRiver. This call was dispatched in the early morning hours of December 26, 2009.Photo By Mike Kelley
S.O.D. members practice ice rescue techniques with members of the Cabin John Park Vol. Fire Dept. and Montgomery County R.R.A.T.S.(River Rescue & Tactical Services Team)
S.O.D. members certified as Wildland Firefighters hold an annual Brush-Wildland Training Field Day to pass on their knowledge and expertise to firefighters from other departments around MontgomeryCounty. These members are certified through MD D.N.R. and the U.S. Forest Service as “Red Carded” Firefighters.
S.O.D. members practice deploying emergency fire shelters. These shelters are required safety equipment that must be worn on large brush or wildland fires. Should a firefighter become trapped by fire, they would deploy these shelters as a last resort for survival. Each member has to be able to deploy the shelter in under 30 seconds. Pictured here are practice shelters made of a tarpaulin material, real shelters are made of several laminated layers of foil, silica, and fiberglass.