Special Operations (Special Ops) has vehicles, resources and staff to help local fire departments at significant incidents and planned events. There is no charge or fee associated with the use of the vehicle(s) and support teams.
For activation of Special Operations resources, fire departments can contact MEMA at 1-508-820-2000.
Guide to Special Ops Resources
Local incident commanders can request help from Special Ops. Learn more about our resources in the Special Operations Resource Guide.
Additional Resources for
Special Operations personnel work in three groups. The three groups cover geographic areas: north, south, central, and west districts. Each group has five teams. Each response team sets up a rotating schedule for responses. The Department of Fire Services pays team members for activations and training
There are four tiers for Special Operations responses. A Tier One Response includes a driver and up to four technicians. A Tier Two Response is for more complex operations and includes the rest of the staff from the district. A Tier Three Response, puts all team members statewide on alert. In Tier Three, an incident is complex and long. It may exceed 14 hours and it is likely that other teams will be activated within 24 hours. A Tier Four Response includes multiple-team activation for long-term operations.
In Tier One and Two responses, team members are notified through MEMA with pagers. Additional activations are made through the ISU.
Massachusetts fire chiefs serve as operations chief (OC) and liaison chief (LC) for each incident. The OC works in and around the ISU, coordinating operations with the fire marshal, deputy marshal, and unit coordinator. The OC works between the conference area and the operators in the communication area. The OC helps make decisions about special operations at the incident. The LC works with the IC and is the communication link between the incident command staff and the ISU team. The LC gives briefings about team activity and capabilities, and provides the OC with status reports.
DFS has technical support staff ready to respond in these areas:
- Critical incident stress management
- Activate the MA Corps of Fire Chaplains
- Public information
The OC communicates specific needs to the fire marshal and contacts appropriate personnel.