Emergency Services Division

General Information

On behalf of all the professional First Responders in the Emergency Services Division  (ESD) I would like to welcome you to our webpage. The Emergency Services Division is responsible for coordinating forest and prairie fire response, fire investigations in unincorporated county areas, search and rescue, hazardous material response,  and for operating the County's Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

To support each of these statutory requirements, the Emergency Services Division is supported by the El Paso County Search and Rescue, the Sheriff's Hazardous Material Response Team, the El Paso County Wildland Fire Team, and the Sheriff's Fire Investigation's Team. These  Teams are supported by over 150 volunteer responders who are dedicated professionals in their career fields. The Emergency Operations Center is currently located at 101 West Costilla, with a new building planned for in 2014,  which will combine all of the ESD resources under one roof. The EOC provides for the coordination of all requirements for any emergency or disaster that affects the County. The Emergency Operations Center is also supported by the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency (RACES) who are amateur radio operators that provide backup and augmented radio communications to the Emergency Operations Center.

Citizens Emergency Response Training (CERT)

In the event of a major disaster, your county law enforcement, fire services, and emergency services resources could be stretched beyond their capabilities. As a County we want our citizens to be prepared to face any situation that may affect their lives. Being prepared to be self sufficient for the the first 72 hours following a disaster of any kind is the goal and reason for the CERT program. The Sheriff has  directed the ESD to design and implement the CERT program to accomplish the the goal of enhancing the safety of all El Paso County citizens.

For those interested in the disaster and emergency preparedness classes please refer to our Citizens Emergency Response Training (CERT) program. This training is offered approximately four times per year starting in January 2014, available to the general public, businesses, faith based organizations, and various clubs to participate, all at no cost to you.

If you are interested in volunteering for any of these teams, or for more information concerning the Emergency Services Division please contact us at (719) 575-8400. Acceptance on these teams requires a background investigation and the willingness to volunteer many hours for training and response operations.

NOTICE: CERT Class for the week of June 4th, 6th and 7th has been cancelled

Fire Investigators for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office are assigned to the Emergency Services Division under the direction of Commander John Padgett.  With the passage of 1A in 2012, the Sheriff’s Office was able to add a second full time position bringing the number of full time investigators to two.  Investigators have a variety of experience and backgrounds including law enforcement, hazardous materials and firefighting. 

One of the many responsibilities of the Emergency Services Division is the mitigation of Hazardous Material incidents.  The El Paso County Hazardous Materials Response Team is comprised of both Sheriff Deputies and volunteers.  The Hazardous Materials Team is part of the South Central All Hazards Region which is comprised of Hazmat teams within El Paso, Chaffee, Lake, Park, and Teller Counties.  All members must undergo additional training in order to obtain state and national certifications.

The mission of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is to ensure 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 in cooperation with other local governments, the State and Federal government and non-profit organizations. To accomplish this, the Office of Emergency Management maintains and develops a capability built on people (volunteers), communications, equipment and plans.

El Paso County Search & Rescue is a mountain search and rescue unit dedicated to saving lives through search, rescue and mountain safety education. The team is composed totally of volunteers and is available upon request for help with mountain search and 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 aircrafts emergency location transmitter, as well as personal locator beacons. The members, numbering over 70 strong, serve in a variety of roles while working towards a single goal – saving lives.

The Special Communications Unit (SCU) provides radio operators for all forms of communication, as well as providing supplemental communications to the Sheriff's Office. 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). SCU members staff both the EOC and the ICP and other locations as required. They also provide field communications for the El Paso County Search and Rescue team. You are not required to hold an FCC license to join the SCU but members are highly encouraged to test and obtain their license within one year of membership.

The El Paso County Wildland Fire Crew (EPSOWF) is an all volunteer team comprised of citizens from El Paso County and the surrounding area dedicated to saving lives and property. The crew members come from all walks of life and range in age from the young (18) to the young at heart (60). All crew members are dedicated, highly trained, hard-working individuals who take satisfaction in delivering a much needed and important service to the community.