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Special Operations

The Johnstown Fire Department has committed a vast amount of time, material and manpower for response to and mitigation of hazardous materials releases in and near the City of Johnstown.  Every member of the Johnstown Fire Department has received extensive training in hazardous materials response.


Over 80% of the Fire Fighters in the Johnstown Fire Department have been trained as hazardous materials technicians which is the highest level of response training available.



The fire department also has a fully equipped hazardous materials response vehicle which is stocked with state of the art detection and mitigation equipment.

This response vehicle is capable of responding quickly throughout the region to any type of hazardous materials release.


The management and staff of the Johnstown Fire Department have recognized the need for effective, efficient and safe response to hazardous materials releases and they have risen to the challenge for the betterment of the community.

The Johnstown Fire Department entered the arena of technical rescue with the formation of a technical rescue team in 1995. The Technical Rescue team has been recognized as one of the leading specialized rescue teams in the State of Pennsylvania. Every member of the Johnstown Fire Department has been trained in some special rescue discipline.



From trench rescue to high angle rope rescues to building collapses there are very few things that the Johnstown Fire Department’s Technical Rescue team cannot do. The rescue team has an arsenal of state of the art equipment that can perform the varied rescue functions under almost any conditions.


The department’s rescue vehicle can respond with a fully trained crew of rescue technicians anywhere in the region. Whether it is a building collapse, trench rescue or a high angle rope rescue the Johnstown Fire Department can respond and render aid to the victim or victims.


Several members of the Johnstown Technical Rescue team have been selected to be members of the Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue Team. In 2001 members of the team responded to New York City for the World Trade Center attack. These members have also responded across the nation to the various natural disasters that have struck the United States.


In the Spring of 2013, all fire department crews obtained certification as Structural Collapse Technicians.

The Johnstown Fire Department SERT or Tactical Emergency Medical Team was formed in 1995 to assist local, state and federal law enforcement with emergency medical care in high risk situations. The Tactical EMS team is made up of several specially trained paramedics who respond with various local law enforcement agencies to render care for police officers and victims in areas where normal emergency responders cannot go.


The tactical team has been deployed as far away as North Carolina and West Virginia to assist federal law enforcement. On the local scene the tactical team supports the Johnstown/Richland SERT officers on every mission.


Members of the Tactical EMS team have refurbished a ballistic vehicle obtained from the Brinks Corporation and were successful in obtaining the first ALS licensed armored vehicle designation in the State of Pennsylvania from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. This vehicle has been used numerous times to protect law enforcement personnel and civilians who have been placed in harm’s way.


The Johnstown Fire Department has always strived to bring new and innovative services to the greater Johnstown region and the Tactical EMS team is a prime example of just one of those services.

The Johnstown Fire Department has a fully functional water rescue team that can respond quickly to aid persons placed in peril by either swift or slow moving water as well as ice rescue emergencies.


Equipped with a jet powered boat members of the team race to victims and remove them from imminent danger. The water rescue team has responded to many areas of the state to assist with rescues. In 2004 they responded to the Borough of Carnegie to rescue 22 people who had become trapped in a flash flood.


Each year crews are dispatched to assist flooding victims and get them to safety. Most recently, in the Summer of 2013, crews were called to North Central Pennsylvania for flooding.


The water rescue team can be mobilized quickly and is ready to respond to water rescue emergencies within the city and state.