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MDFR's Marine Services maintains a 24-hour response capability for incidents occurring on Miami-Dade beaches and shorelines as well as those occurring in our numerous bodies of water including the ocean, our bays, lakes, canals and other waterways.
Water-related emergencies are handled through specialized areas of marine services:
The Dive Rescue Bureau of the Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Department (MDFR) began SCUBA operations in 1985. Development of a water rescue capability within our fire department and community has been an ongoing process. This carefully guided evolution has resulted in the establishment of the largest and most successful fire department-based water rescue/dive rescue program in the nation and possibly the world.
Water rescue services are provided within the 1,971-square-mile area of Miami-Dade County to a population of nearly 2.5 million. Water hazards common to our diverse topography consist of more than 1,000 rock pits and lakes, 1,500 miles of canals, 75,000 residential pools, and over 300 miles of coastline including offshore islands and waters, causeways, and ocean beaches.
This fire department program has reduced the average number of drowning deaths in Miami-Dade County significantly. MDFR units respond approximately to more than 100 water rescue incidents annually. Each fire suppression unit, ALS rescue unit, air rescue helicopter and our fire boat is equipped as a water rescue unit with two sets of SCUBA rescue equipment and accessory gear.
MDFR's administration, logistical support and training for water rescue are provided by the Dive Rescue Bureau. The Dive Rescue Training Team has four Public Safety Diving Instructors, seven certified SCUBA/rescue instructors and eight Dive Rescue Training Team Assistants. Training consists of a full range of aquatic and water rescue subjects from American Red Cross Swimming and Lifesaving through NAUI Rescue Skin Diving and all SCUBA certification levels. Rescue diver skills are maintained through annual Proficiency Improvement Training classes. The training is continuous, challenging and nationally recognized. It has been sought after and shared by local, federal and military agencies and a dozen other Florida departments.
More than 1,800 firefighters and paramedics have been trained and certified as Rescue Skin Divers since 1976. MDFR currently has more than 1,000 Rescue Skin Divers and 650 SCUBA Rescue Divers.
MDFR, the largest fire department in the southeast, has been a leader in development and provision of fire rescue services. In the special area of water rescue, our department has been a trendsetter with a highly functional program that is saving lives in this community while gaining a national reputation for excellence.
The mission of the Ocean Rescue Bureau is to provide surf lifesaving on Miami Dade County's public beaches as a professional endeavor and as a means of public safety, preventing accidents while protecting lives and property by providing prompt, skillful and cost-effective ocean rescue and lifesaving emergency services. These goals are met by creating the highest level of professionalism among our lifeguard ranks and by providing beachgoers exceptional customer service and public relations as well as an education in beach and aquatic safety.
Miami-Dade County’s lifeguards were transferred from the Parks Department and moved into the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department in October of 2003. With nearly 100 employees, the Ocean Rescue Bureau is ready to continue its tradition of serving the public, preventing accidents, saving lives and making the County proud.
Miami-Dade County's public beaches (Crandon Park and Haulover Park) are professionally guarded 365 days a year - Winter: November - March // 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. - Summer: April - October // 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Lifeguards protect and guard an area which consists of approximately 2.5 miles - (Crandon Beach 1.2 miles / Haulover Beach 1.3 miles).
At Crandon's lagoon-style beach, the guarded area represents approximately 257 acres or 1,960,000 square yards of covered water area extending in some areas to a distance of up to 800+ yards offshore. Crandon's lifeguards will also respond in case of emergency to approximately two miles of beach owned by the Village of Key Biscayne – where there are no lifeguards on duty.
At Haulover Park, lifeguards monitor the surf-style beach up to 100 yards offshore. Haulover Park lifeguards can and at times do respond to emergency situations in Haulover Cut and continue to assist the Sunny Isles Ocean Rescue agency that patrols up to approximately four miles of Sunny Isles Beach located north of Haulover. Numerous rescues and CPR / artificial resuscitations including body recoveries have been made by Ocean Rescue lifeguards in these areas.
Our moral, ethical and professional beliefs and obligations necessitate us to respond to these potentially hazardous and unprotected areas if the need arises.
Miami-Dade County Ocean Rescue Bureau boasts 30 elevated and mostly enclosed lifeguard towers spaced approximately 150 yards apart and operational headquarters buildings, one for each beach. There are plans for new headquarter buildings at both beaches.
Staff includes one Ocean Rescue Bureau, two Beach Safety Managers (Captains), seven Lieutenants, 27 full-time lifeguards, up to 60+ part-time lifeguards and four Communication Support Specialists and a full-time Maintenance Repairer totaling approximately 100 employees.Back to Top Page Last Edited: Tue Oct 7, 2014 11:11:06 AM
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