The Emergency Operations Branch consists of the Operations and Training Divisions and is led by the Deputy Chief of Emergency Operations.
The Operations Division is the largest and most visible Division within the Waco Fire Department, consisting of 186 personnel. Operations Division personnel staff each of the 13 fire stations daily, with a minimum staffing level of 53 personnel. The Waco Fire Department staffs 11 Engine Companies, 1 Quint Company, 3 Truck Companies, 3 ARFF Units (airports), and 2 Battalion Chiefs each day. Auxiliary equipment that is utilized for special incidents includes 2 Rescue Trucks, 3 Boats, 1 Jet-Ski, 3 Brush Trucks, a Regional HazMat Truck & Trailer, and other equipment.
The Waco Fire Department is the largest paid department in McLennan County. There are 13 fire stations in the City of Waco. All fire 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. The Waco Fire Department has written mutual aid agreements with several of the surrounding communities, and routinely responds to assist when requested. The Operations Division handles emergency and non-emergency calls for service that include fires, medical emergencies, motor-vehicle accidents, technical rescues, hazardous materials releases, natural gas leaks, and many other types of calls. The Operations Division personnel also routinely assist the Community Risk Reduction Branch with providing education to prevent fires and accidents from occurring.
The Waco Fire Department participates with the Heart of Texas Council of Governments (HOTCOG) to offer regional response to Flood and Swift-Water and Rescue situations, as well as staffing the regional Hazardous Materials Response Team. Both teams are staffed daily and can respond when requested to a 6-county area outside of the City of Waco.
The training function of the Waco Fire Department is met through a collaborative effort between Divisions and Agencies. The Emergency Services Education Center located at 7601 Steinbeck Bend Dr. is a regional, joint-use facility, between McLennan Community College (MCC) and the City of Waco Fire (and Police) Department(s). A Training Captain serves as the coordinator for many of these functions for the Waco Fire Department.
Recruit Training is conducted through an agreement with MCC for training of both basic firefighter and EMT certification.
Beyond recruit training, the Waco Fire Department believes that “training should drive operations” and “operations should drive training.” This circular thought process allows for a strategic intent where members from the field can identify deficiencies and work toward correction, ensuring that the best training and operational readiness are present to handle emergencies.
In-service training is conducted at the fire-company or battalion level by members from the Operations Division who assist with training.
Certification classes in disciplines such as Fire Officer, Fire Instructor, Driver/Operator, and Aircraft Rescue Firefighter are coordinated through the Training Captain and delivered online and in person by members of the Operations Division.
Planning for Training programs is the responsibility of the Training Planning Group (TPG) which consists of the Deputy Chief of Emergency Operations, Training Captain, and several key members from the Operations Division.
The Training Division also serves as the central point for many logistical functions within the Waco Fire Department.