Fire Rescue

Our Mission

Our mission and vision statements illustrate that Alachua County Fire Rescue is a diverse group of public servants dedicated to providing emergency and non-emergency services through excellent customer service to the citizens and visitors of Alachua County. The department consists of five sections:

  • Finance and Accounting
  • Revenue and Collections
  • Fire Rescue Operations
  • Emergency Management
  • Enhanced 911

The Board of County Commission along with the County Manager view public safety as one of the top priorities of County Government. This is reflected by the $40 million-dollar budget utilized in the provision of the fire rescue services.

As your Fire Chief, I have two commitments, the first is to the community. The men and women of fire rescue view you as customers and we are committed to a “whatever it takes” mentality in providing the services you need. Our crews stand ready to serve the various ethnicities, races, and socio-economic backgrounds of our community with care, compassion and a positive attitude.

My second commitment is directly to our members of the fire service. The department’s executive team will continue to work hard to maintain programs that ensures you are well-trained, well-equipped, and well-compensated so that all the expectations of the public are met. The department strives to provide diverse programs that meet personal fulfillment and the professional development needs of our personnel. In recognition of the need to encourage members’ support of our vision and mission, we continually strive to provide motivation to excel, increase incentives, strengthen morale, enhance individual self-worth and promote confidence.

Thank you for allowing us to serve

Contact

  • Harold Theus
  • Harold Theus
  • Fire Rescue Chief
  • PO Box 5038
  • Gainesville, FL 32627-5038
  • Office Phone: 352-384-3101​
  • TDD/TTY users, please call 711 (Florida Relay Service)

Fire Rescue Logo  
Jeff Taylor​
Cheryl Ellis
Jen Grice
Karem Scott-Kotb
Keith Godwin
Melinda Hart

Alachua County Fire Rescue (ACFR) employs approximately 300 personnel (265 uniformed). The department serves about 270,000 residents in an area covering 962 square miles.

ACFR responded to 43,732 calls for service in 2020. The department is a career fire department operating from 15 stations. ACFR’s budget for FY 2021 is approximately $40 million.

ACFR is comprised of the following divisions:

Operations​
EMS
Professional Standards
Fire Prevention

Personnel in the Operations Division, the largest division of our department, are on-duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any and all calls for service. The Department provides fire suppression and first response advance life support (ALS) EMS services in the unincorporated area and the cities of Alachua, Archer, Hawthorne, and Waldo.

The County also contracts with the cities of Gainesville, LaCrosse, Micanopy, Newberry, High Springs, and the Windsor VFD, Cross Creek VFD, and Melrose VFD to provide varying levels of fire suppression and first response EMS services to the unincorporated area of the County.

The Department maintains the deployment of water tenders which results in the Insurance Services Office (ISO) approving the Hauled Water Certification. This certification results in reduced cost for homeowners insurance to over 7000 property owners. The division also includes ACFR’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) team who respond to a variety of emergency and non-emergency events throughout the County.

ACFR provides pre-hospital Advance Life Support emergency medical care and transport services twenty four hours a day, seven days a week through the deployment of fourteen 24-hour rescue units and 5 Critical Care Peak load units working 13-hour days strategically located in the County. These units were dispatched to 40,595 incidents accounting for 43,732 responses in FY20. We also provide the following community services: local and long distance medical transfers, EMS coverage at all large scale community events (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, O’Connell Center, Gator Nationals, etc.), and technical and specialized rescue service.

ACFR’s Health & Safety Division supports our EMS staff and is assigned responsibility for maintaining all employee records concerning: exposures, immunizations, physicals, and the fit testing of all respiratory equipment. The assigned Captain investigates all accidents (employee, vehicle, station, etc...) and makes recommendations to prevent further occurrences. The Health & Safety Captain also ensures Department compliance with protective air standards for on scene emergency operations and personnel accountability system for on scene operations and coordinates Departmental Safety Committee as required by Florida Statute.

The Professional Standards Division ensures that ACFR and its employees are ready to effectively meet the challenges and opportunities of the job today and in the future as our community continues to grow. This begins with the oversight of the onboarding process for new employees to ensure that they are prepared, developed, supervised and evaluated on the expected level of service that our community expects and deserves. We maintain employee files including training record, copies of licensure/professional credential and other related materials as required by State Statute.

Training staff provides/coordinates instruction for new techniques in emergency medical procedures, rescue practices, fire prevention and suppression practices. They are responsible for reviewing and providing instruction to personnel on all equipment. Additionally, they provide continuing education opportunities for Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics to maintain required certifications. The Professional Standards Division is responsible for regularly reviewing and adjusting our promotional testing processes to accurately reflect evolving expectations for, and contexts that shape the profession’s work.

The Professional Standards Division also oversees the ISO (Insurance Service Office) compliance program for Alachua County. This is a nationwide fire service rating system that is used by insurance companies to determine rates. While there are many factors that go into determining a fire departments rating, documentation of training hours, hydrant inspections and equipment testing are a large part of the inspection.

The County Fire Marshal (CFM) oversees the areas of Fire Prevention, Arson Investigation, and Department Internal Investigations. The Fire Prevention Office activities include annual fire safety inspections for all public, private and charter schools, day care centers, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, Alachua County facilities, and medical facilities as required for the renewal of their State license. Fire and life safety inspections are also performed on commercial occupancies.

The Plans Inspection/Review program, which is mandated by State Statute, provides for the review of all architectural drawings for new commercial construction in Alachua County. The review includes the fire alarm systems, fire sprinkler systems, and pre-engineered suppression systems. In conjunction with the State Bureau of Fire, Arson, and Explosives Investigations, the CFM conducts arson investigations for incidents in the unincorporated area and within the cities of Alachua, Archer, Hawthorne, and Waldo.

The Fire Marshal is also assigned the function of Internal Investigations, which is responsible for conducting investigations of received complaints (internal and external). The Fire Marshal’s investigation process and reports are critical to appropriate resolution and disposition of each complaint.

The Fiscal Office is responsible for Fire Rescue’s annual budget development and management, all purchasing functions, expenditure monitoring, grant and contract coordination and administration, accounts payable, payroll functions, and personnel coordination. We also process and manage the department’s data analysis, for example, the tracking of responses, incidents, response times, etc.

The Information and Technology (IT) Office is responsible for all technical support of hardware and software programs within the department. The staff provides round-the-clock support for over 150 computers and laptops, specialized EMS and Fire applications, database management and query, Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) mobile management, and EMS/Fire reporting management.

ACFR’s Central Supply Warehouse (CSW) is responsible for the selection, procurement, warehousing, issuing and tracking of all equipment and supplies for ACFR. CSW coordinates the purchasing requests and manages inventory control for over 800 stock items – everything from paper towels, medical supplies, personal protective equipment, and capital equipment.

This sectionis currently under construction please be patient.

For more information please go to http://alachuacounty.us/Depts/EM/Pages/EM.aspx

If you are interested in a career with Alachua County Fire Rescue (ACFR) there are many opportunities available within the department. ACFR is proud to provide our community both Emergency Medical Services and Fire Suppression Services. With Diversity being one of our core values, we not only strive to make sure that we have a diverse applicant pool to help us reflect the communities that we serve, but we also have a diverse range of entry level positions to fit specific needs and wants within the fire service and with the people that apply.

ACFR also strives to engage with our community in more ways than just helping people at that worst moments through 911 calls. We have done this through various different community events and public education forums as well as invested in our local youth through our ACFR Youth Cadet Program. This program exposes youth ages 14 to 20 years old to all that ACFR has to offer so that they can decide at an early age if the fire service is something they would like to make a career of. If so, we do what we can to give them the tools to succeed and also use this as a recruitment tool for employment as well. Click the Cadet Program link below for more information.

Alachua County geographically offers a wide range of diverse communities from rural agricultural, urban centers and small towns. The community is a leader in conservation, with large tacks of public accessible recreational areas. The largest city in Alachua County is the City of Gainesville which is also the home of the University of Florida Gators. UF Health Shands Teaching Hospital, North Florida Regional Medical Center and the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center are all located within Alachua County as well as the Gatorback Motorcycle Track and the Gainesville Raceway that hosts the NHRA Gatornationals Drag Racing.

ACFR currently operates out of 16 stations some being multi-company, single suppression, dual rescue and single rescue stations. 260+ uniform personnel operate out of those stations. Within those stations we have 11 ALS fire apparatus including 1 Quint and 1 Heavy Rescue Squad along with additional supplemental apparatus including 7 Brush Trucks, 4 Water Tankers and 1 MSU Bus. We also have 14 ALS Transport Rescues and 5 Peak Load/Critical Care Transport Rescues.

There are multiple entry level positions common for candidates interested in Alachua County Fire Rescue which include Firefighter, EMT Driver, EMS Lieutenant and Rescue Lieutenant. All positions are filled on an as needed basis. Interested individuals should follow the links in the "Quick Link" section to see a full description of the positions, pay rates, requirements, etc. If application is not currently open, candidates should “subscribe” to the interest card located at the top right-hand corner of the job description page for that position to allow interested individuals to receive an automated email when a vacancy is created.

For individuals that may be single certified or even non-certified at the time of application, there are still opportunities for you to be employed. ACFR offers paid sponsorship in both our Firefighter and Rescue Lieutenant positions. Please click on the link associated with the position you are interested in for more details.

If you are looking for a position within a growing department in a fun and dynamic community, please take the time to explore and find out what we have to offer.

For more information please go to http://alachuacounty.us/Depts/PublicSafety/FireSafety/TechServices/Pages/Employment.aspx

Mission of the 9-1-1 Office

    The primary mission of the 9-1-1 Office is to:
  • Assess potential 9-1-1 service interruptions and initiate those actions necessary to mitigate the impact
  • Stay abreast of technological advances in 9-1-1 services
  • Provide addressing services

The 9-1-1 Office maintains the map data that is used by 9-1-1 Operators when answering an emergency call. Accurate data ensures the location information that appears with the telephone number is the location of the caller and allows for the quick and accurate dispatch of emergency services. Currently, 9-1-1 relies on both traditional databases and GIS (spatially enabled) databases.

Locating an incident is essential for the efficient delivery of emergency services. Time lost to emergency crews attempting to locate a confusing or improperly addressed structure, or an address which is not properly posted, can have disastrous consequences. To ensure that address assignments are made to adhere with a 9-1-1 standard, the 9-1-1 Office provides address assignment, verification, and correction services for all of Alachua County.

The 9-1-1 Office continually strives to provide the citizens of Alachua County with the best available 9-1-1 system. Our approach to locating a caller to 9-1-1 is comprehensive from ensuring that 9-1-1 Operators have up-to-date, well-functioning equipment, to making sure a structure is assigned a standards based 9-1-1 address. With all of the behind the scenes data maintenance, we consistently work to improve and refine our systems and processes so that Alachua County can rely on the best available 9-1-1 system for its emergency services.

The 9-1-1 Office is funded by the Emergency Communications Number 9-1-1 System Fund. 9-1-1 funds are generated from a fee levied on telephone subscribers, $.40 per month per line, under Florida Statute 365.172 and may only be used for 9-1-1 purposes.

Seeking 9-1-1 Services in Alachua County When Calling From Out of County or Out of State

If possible, determine what city, municipality or college campus the services are needed at.

If unknown, call the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office dispatch at 352-955-1818. The Sheriff’s Office has the resources to attempt to locate the location where emergency services are needed.

  • If you know the location where emergency services (law enforcement, fire, emergency medical) are needed, select from the below list of public safety services in Alachua County:
  • Alachua County Sheriff’s Office: 352-955-1818
  • University of Florida (UF) Police: 352-392-1111
  • City of Alachua Police: 386-418-6100
  • City of High Springs Police: 352-955-1818
  • Santa Fe College Police: 352-395-5519
  • Emergency medical services: 352-955-1818

The Revenue and Collections Section is responsible for the administration of the emergency medical services (EMS) billing and collection services for the Alachua County fee schedule, as well as for fire inspections performed by the Life Safety Branch. In addition, the Revenue and Collections Section schedules and coordinates operational needs for long-distance ambulance transfers to locations out of Alachua County.

In April 2015, Alachua County entered into an interlocal agreement to provide EMS billing and collection services for Bradford County Fire Rescue. The Revenue and Collections Section is responsible for the administration of the services for this agreement, which has proved to be a successful collaboration for both counties.

The services provided by the Revenue and Collections Section put Alachua County among the industry leaders for revenue cycle management and EMS collections strategies, yielding higher than average EMS collection rates. By utilizing some of the latest healthcare technology and practices for identifying third-party coverage, revenue can be maximized from third-party insurance carriers and minimized from General Fund subsidy for emergency medical services.

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