Special Ops and Training
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Special Ops And Training

Battalion Chief Mark Rapp

Training Division

Battalion Chief Kevin Jones
Special Ops & Emergency Mgmt

Incumbent Training: Battalion Chief Mark Rapp

The IFD Incumbent Training Division is responsible for the ongoing fire suppression training of IFD's more than 1183 incumbent firefighters.  All of the emergency responders in IFD must be certified at the Firefighter I and Firefighter II level, as required by the National Fire Protection Association and the State of Indiana.  The Firefighter I and Firefighter II certifications ensure that all IFD firefighters are sufficiently trained in fire tactics and strategies, incident command and fire scene safety.  In total, the IFD's Incumbent Training Section conducts more than 60,000 contact training hours per year. The extrication crews frequently utilize powerful air bags that may be placed under an inverted vehicle and then inflated to allow the firefighters to upright the vehicle or remove victims who may be trapped.

Recruit Training: Captain Willie Thompson and Captain Jim King

Almost every year IFD accepts applications for new firefighter positions and hires 15 to 35 new recruits.  The IFD Training Division is responsible for overseeing the training of the new recruits.  This 22-week comprehensive training curriculum converts inexperienced new recruits into fully qualified, professional firefighters.  The recruit school curriculum includes not only emergency medical response and fire fighting tactics and strategies, but also such diverse subject matter as cultural diversity, chemistry, fire department history, hazardous materials, hydraulics, and computers.

Special Operations: Battalion Chief Kevin Jones

In recent years, fire departments like IFD have moved from strictly firefighting forces toward much more broad based rescue disciplines in their effort to protect the communities they serve.  The move toward emergency medical services is a salient example.  But the diversity of activity has broadened even more in the past two decades to include specialty teams like high angle rescue, heavy extrication, and structural collapse.

High Angle Rescue– IFD also has in place rope rescue teams that are trained to intercede when a victim is trapped in high rise or high angle incidents; for example window washers, construction personnel, or any other person caught in a precarious situation on a bridge or the upper floors of buildings or building under construction.

Heavy Extrication – There are nine light extrication task forces and one heavy extrication task force in place in IFD. The extrication tasks forces respond to personal injury vehicular accidents where citizens are trapped in vehicles or where vehicles have overturn.  The extrication crews – made up of firefighters who perform extrication in addition to their regular firefighting duties – respond to single and multiple car or truck accidents on Indy's city streets or on the urban interstate system.  The heavy extrication task force is called to action if the vehicle presents special complications; like an inverted school bus, a semi-trailer tractor, dump truck or train car.  The extrication crews frequently utilize powerful air bags that may be placed under an inverted vehicle and then inflated to allow the firefighters to upright the vehicle or remove victims who may be trapped.

Structural Collapse- IFD has one tactical teams that are trained to deal with structural collapse, which may come in the form of a building collapsing or the walls of a construction trench collapsing and trapping victims.  Because the structural collapse rescue efforts are so labor intensive, the one structural collapse teams always work in tandem when performing confined space rescue or rescue from a collapsed structure.




18, 19

Foam Distribution

 7, 14,

Top Water

 7, 14

High and Low Angle Rope/Dive

7, 9, 14, 43, 34

Heavy Extrication

13, 44 

Haz Mat 

19 & 31



Urban Search and Rescue

1, 5, 10

Confined Space

 4, 10, 15, 29, 30, 35, 36,55

Light Extrication



Captain Fred Schwomeyer: Hazardous Materials

HazMat Tactical Teams are called out to mitigate emergency incidents involving hazardous materials. These include flammable liquids, solids and gases, as well as some of the newest and most toxic chemicals known to man. IFD has Hazardous Material Technicians that are CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear and Energetic Materials) trained for WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). IFD has approximately 485 certified technicians. All technicians are cross-trained to function in any role at a hazardous material incident.

IFD has designated four fire stations (13, 19, 31 and 44) as HazMat Tactical Response Teams If any emergency appears to involve hazardous materials, the HazMat teams are called to the scene to mitigate the dangers present. Tactical Stations 13 & 44 are the primary entry teams that respond to all spills or leaks.  Tactical Stations 19 & 31 respond to hazardous material incidents and rescue dive runs for decontamination purposes. Station 18 houses the Foam Support Truck.

Situations that involve hazardous materials can be extremely complicated and time consuming which require interaction with personnel from multiple outside agencies. Agencies like the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, FBI, ATF, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indiana Department of Transportation, City of Indianapolis Public Works, Citizens Gas Company, Indiana State Board of Health, Marion County Health and Hospital and many others in private industry.

During a hazardous materials situation, IFD HazMat teams must take great care to ensure that toxic chemicals are properly and safely confined and that any personnel who might have been exposed to dangerous chemicals are properly decontaminated. IFD is also part of the Indiana District 5 Hazardous Materials Task Force that includes Marion County, Hamilton County, Hancock County, Shelby County, Johnson County, Morgan County, Hendricks County and Boone County.

High Rise Operations: Captain Mark Moorman

The IFD High Rise Division is responsible for developing response protocols and general planning for response to emergencies that might occur in any of the more than 200 high rise buildings in Indianapolis.  A high rise building is defined by the department as any structure four stories or more in height or length.

The High Rise Manager develops preplanning for incidents including written operational procedures for high rise response.  The High Rise Manager is also responsible for obtaining special tools, equipment and apparatus that might be necessary for responding to high rise incidents.  Pre-planning – seeking out problems to develop solutions before an incident takes place – is a vital part of high rise operation.

The High Rise Division also develops training programs that encompass basics in high rise fire considerations for recruit training, fire companies, mutual aide responders and building occupants.

Water Rescue: Captain Scott Huff

There are two Tactical Dive Teams adn 6 top Water Teams in place at 6 fire stations in IFD.  More than 65  firefighters are certified rescue divers who are trained to respond to water emergencies in the many lakes, rivers and ponds within the Indianapolis Fire Service District.  All of the firefighters on the tactical dive teams are cross-trained in swift water rescue, a discipline that makes it possible for firefighters to intercede when someone is caught in the swift currents of the rivers and streams in Indianapolis.