During the 1970's there were only a few full-time paid fire departments including; Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Sunrise, Margate and others. Much of Broward County was covered by volunteer fire departments serviced by ordinary citizens who sacrificed their time to learn basic firefighting techniques and provide a valuable service to the community they served. Many of these fire districts were combination departments with paid firefighters supplemented by volunteers.
In 1978 the Broward County Commission began the process of creating the Broward County Fire Department by merging the various independent fire districts together creating the largest fire department in the county. This process begun in 1978 was fully merged by 1981.
Broward County Emergency Medical Services
Started as a pilot project in 1973, Broward County Emergency Medical Services began providing Advanced Life Support paramedic service from a station located in the parking lot of Plantation General Hospital. Paramedics were trained by the hospitals physicians and were put through a rigorous training and testing regimen before being allowed to practice.
Broward County EMS responded paramedics to the scene of an emergency in a two-person vehicle equipped with state of the art advanced life support equipment while an ambulance carrying basic level Emergency Medical Technicians also responded to the scene to provide transport for sick and injured. If the patient had a serious medical emergency and required advanced life support care; a Broward County EMS paramedic would provide treatment and accompany the patient to the hospital in the ambulance.
Broward County Fire Rescue
In the early 1990's the Broward County Fire Department merged with Broward County Emergency Medical Services to form the largest fire rescue provider in Broward County. Firefighters began cross-training as paramedics and EMS personnel began firefighting training. The cross-training process increased the number of trained firefighter/paramedics on each emergency vehicle and provided an optimal service model for the residents and visitors to Broward County.
In addition to improving the fire rescue service level countywide, Broward County Fire Rescue members created various Special Operations branches within the organization.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue
In 2003, the Broward Sheriff's Office, through a contract with the Broward County Commission, assumed control of Broward County Fire Rescue, Port Everglades Fire Rescue and Ft. Lauderdale/ Hollywood International Airport Fire Rescue departments. BSO's management team merged all three departments into the largest full service fire rescue provider in Broward County, streamlining service delivery, reducing service redundancy and maximizing the operational potential of the entire agency.
Immediately upon assuming operational control of the fire rescue department the Broward Sheriff's Office made rapid improvements to the newly formed fire rescue system. District Fire Chiefs were created and assigned to each of the current fire districts to ensure operational excellence and responsive customer service to the municipalities we serve. In addition, the Broward Sheriff's Office secured contracts for fire rescue service in the cities of Cooper City and Lauderdale Lakes.
The Broward Sheriff's Office opened new fire rescue stations, made improvements to regional services and initiated the Station 106 Everglades response team. This station, located at the 35 mile marker of Alligator Alley provides an Advanced Life Support engine company, an ALS rescue unit and two boats equipped for water rescue. The BSO Airboat carries much of the same equipment used on ground rescue units and can deploy to any of the 70+ camps located deep in the Florida Everglades. Within the first week of this unit going into service it carried a team of rescuers to a helicopter crash were one victim sustained severe injuries and it has successfully been used on numerous rescue missions since.