Emergency Services Division

General Information

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services Division is responsible for supporting the statutory requirements of the Sheriff’s Office as it relates to wildland fire, which includes coordinating and insuring forest and prairie fire responses. The Sheriff’s Office is also responsible for fire investigations in the unincorporated areas of El Paso County, providing for Search and Rescue, assisting with the counties Hazardous Materials Response Team.  We are also actively engaged in providing planning, preparation, and training for any emergency or disaster that affects the County. The El Paso County Emergency Operations Center (EOC)  is also supported by Sheriff’s office personnel, as well as several of our affiliated volunteer teams.

The El Paso Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services Division has recently established a Citizens’ Advisory Committee. This Committee is made up of local leaders, small business owners, professionals, fire, police, communication experts, and interested citizens who have an interest in providing feedback to the needs of the County through the Emergency Services Division. Numerous topics will be discussed covering all avenues of where performance and improvements can be made to the Emergency Services Division in order to serve the citizens of El Paso County better.

Fire investigators for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office are currently assigned to the Emergency Services Division under the direction of Fire Marshal John Padgett. With the passage of the public safety tax in 2012, the Sheriff’s Office was able to add a second full-time position, bringing the number full-time investigators to two. Our investigators have a variety of experience and backgrounds including law enforcement, hazardous materials, and firefighting.

One of the many responsibilities of the Emergency Service Division is to assist the El Paso County, Hazardous Materials Response Team. The Sheriff’s Office provides numerous deputies and volunteers to assist with this Team, which is part of the South Central All Hazards Region. The County’s Hazmat Team responds not only within El Paso County, but also to the neighboring Chaffee, Lake, Park, and Teller counties. All Sheriff’s Office deputies must undergo additional training in order to attain state and national certifications to support this Team. For team members, this is a secondary duty in addition to the normal work assignment, with members being on call 24 hours a day.

The Sheriff’s Office actively supports the County’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). The OEM is established to insure that local governments within El Paso County have the capability to survive a disaster, and to manage and conduct essential emergency functions to support our citizens. This capability of managing a survivable crisis includes the ability to direct, control, manage and coordinate emergency operations with cooperation from local governments, the state and federal government and nonprofit organizations.

The El Paso County Search and Rescue is a Mountain Search and Rescue Unit dedicated to saving lives through search, rescue and mountain safety education. The Team is comprised of volunteers and is available upon request for help with mountain searching rescue anywhere in Colorado under the authority of the local County Sheriff, or in other states and countries under local authority. The team is able to search for downed aircraft and lost people by tracing the location of the aircraft’s emergency location transmitter, as well as personal locator beacons. The members, numbering over 70 strong, serving a variety of roles are working toward a single goal; saving lives. There is never a charge for Search and Rescue services and they are on call year round.  They typically accept applications during last quarter of the year for consideration for the next year’s new member class.

The Special Communications Unit for the Sheriff’s Office helps provide radio operators for all forms of communication, as well as providing supplemental communication for the County’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). These supplemental communications include low band, UHF, VHF, HF, Digital Communications and repeater capabilities to First Responders, the Incident Command Post (ICP) and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Special communications members staff both the ICP and EOC and other locations as required in a major emergency. They also provide field communications for the El Paso County Search and Rescue Team, as well as other associated teams within the division.

The El Paso County Wildland Fire Crew is predominantly an all volunteer team comprised of citizens from El Paso County and the surrounding area dedicated to saving lives and property, that are affected by fire. The crew members come from all walks of life to assist in these endeavors.