The Waco Fire Department is the largest paid department in McLennan County. In 1997, the Waco Fire Department implemented a First Responder Program to respond initially to rescue and medical emergencies. This service was enhanced with cardiac defibrillators in 1998.
In 1997, the Department formed a partnership with McLennan Community College to establish a college-based Fire Technology Program, and started hiring only pre-certified firefighters. In 2010, the Waco Fire Department will change their hiring process to pay individuals while attending McLennan Community College Fire Academy.
The Waco Fire Department has written mutual aid agreements with several of the surrounding communities. In July of 1998, for the first time, the department used helicopters and fixed wing craft for water and fire retardant drops on several major brush fires. These were coordinated with the Texas Forest Service.
The Waco Fire Department performs many more services than just firefighting and EMS. They perform water rescue, vertical rescue, vehicle extrication, animal rescue, pre-fire inspections, public education, fire investigations, and much more.
The Suppression Division is divided into three shifts. Each shift is supervised by an Assistant Chief.
There are 14 stations in the Waco Fire Department. Twelve of the stations are strategically located throughout the city to help provide a response time of five minutes or less from the time Fire Dispatch receives the call. Two of the stations are Airport Fire Stations.