About The Special Operations Bureau
The Bureau of Homeland Security/Special Operations was formed in September 2002 and is responsible for the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department’s preparedness and response capability to Chemical, Biological, Incendiary, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBIRN) Incidents. The bureau also oversees the department’s technical rescue programs and performs major event planning. In addition, members of the bureau manage state and federal grant programs and represent the department’s interests on several committees.
Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS)
The MMRS is funded by the federal government through the State of Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and is responsible for planning of operational mass care shelters and medical treatment facilities, radiological response, National Incident Management (NIMS) compliance, and prehospital patient management (triage, treatment, and transport). Lt. Victor Ellis and Lt. Gregory Tillman are the MMRS coordinators for Lucas County. Since 2004, Toledo Fire & Rescue Department has received $1,118,067 to support this program.
Region One Collapse Search & Rescue Team
The regional collapse search and rescue team was funded through the State Homeland security Grant Fund program and is designed to build a response capability for a structural collapse incident as a result of a natural, man-made, or terrorist event. Since 2003, the team has received $577,104.
Regional Hazardous Materials Response
The Ohio EMA through the State Homeland Security Grant program (SHSG) is funding Hazardous Material teams to build a NIMS Type I response capability in each of the eight State Homeland Security Planning Regions. The eighteen counties of Northwest Ohio make up Ohio’s Planning Region One. The Toledo Fire & Rescue Department has received $30,000 in FY 2007 SHSG and $125,000 in FY 2008 UASI funds for this program.
Region One Public Safety Dive Team
Toledo Fire & Rescue Department received $121,832 from FY 2005 UASI funds to build a public safety dive team with capabilities that include: diving in high hazard environments, surface supply capability, and the ability to conduct side scan sonar operations. The Region One Dive Team has assisted the United States Coast Guard, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Monroe County and Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Offices, and area fire departments in various operations since 2005.
Region One Swift Water/Flood Dive Team
Toledo Fire & Rescue Department received $14,000 in FY 2007 SHSG funds to purchase equipment to build a regional swift water rescue capability. In addition to the SHSG funds the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department contributed $2,377 to purchase a Jon boat and supplied an equipment trailer. The State of Ohio Water Rescue Technical Advisory Committee with funding from Ohio EMA provided swift water rescue technician level training to area firefighters.
Region One Radiological Response Team
Toledo Fire & Rescue Department is building a regional radiological team that is funded through MMRS. This team will be a component of the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department’s Hazardous Material team and will also respond as a component of the regional collapse search and rescue team.
Toledo Fire & Rescue Department’s Technical Rescue Teams
The Special Operations Bureau is responsible for the oversight of the department’s technical rescue teams and to ensure they are compliant with current NFPA standards.
Civilian Emergency Response Team (CERT)
Toledo Fire & Rescue Department in conjunction with the Lucas County Emergency Management Agency developed the Lucas County CERT Program in 2003. The CERT Program is responsible for training and preparing civilians to be able to self sustain and respond during disasters that might impact our community. The program has been sustained through funding from Ohio EMA and local businesses.
Members of the Special Operations Bureau represent the interests of the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department and the region on many committees. These include:
- Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC) U.S. Attorney General’s Office
- Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
- UASI working group
- F.B.I. Joint Terrorism Task Force
- Hazardous Materials Technical Advisory Committee Ohio EMA
- Water Rescue Technical Advisory Committee Ohio EMA
- Harbor Safety Committee U.S.C.G.
- Citizen Corp Council EMA
The Special Operations Bureau is responsible for the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department’s preparedness and ability to recognize and respond appropriately to traditional and non-traditional threats within our community. Partnerships have been forged with several agencies, including area hospitals, health departments, county emergency management agencies, and police and fire departments within our region to ensure open exchange of information, ideas, planning and preparations that translate into a better prepared and safer community. The foundation of a system to identify, assess, prepare and respond to non-traditional threats to our community has been accomplished. The Special Operations Bureau staff will continue striving towards making the Toledo/Lucas County Metropolitan Area a disaster resistant community.
Special Operations Bureau Staff
Battalion Chief Bryce Blair was appointed to the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department in 1993. He achieved his E.M.T. – Paramedic certification in the same year that he was promoted to Lieutenant, 2000. In 2006, he was promoted to Captain. His promotion to Battalion Chief came in 2012.During his career, Battalion Chief Blair has been assigned to Communications Bureau as Dispatch Supervisor, House Captain of Station 5, and shift officer at Station 19.
Battalion Chief Blair holds certifications as a Divemaster and Fire Service Instructor. He has training in Rope Rescue, Confined Space/Trench Rescue, and Structural Collapse. Battalion Chief Blair has attained a Bachelors degree form Miami University, a Master degree from University of Toledo, and is working towards his Doctorate degree from Bowling Green State University.
Battalion Chief Blair is currently assigned as Battalion Chief of Special Operations.
Captain Gregory Tillman was appointed to the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department on September 11, 1992. He was promoted to Lieutenant on April 28, 1998, and promotion to Captain came on November 14, 2008. As a private he was assigned to stations 25 and 17. Following his promotion to Lieutenant, he was assigned to the Training Bureau, and to Special Operations, where he remained following promotion to Captain.
Captain Tillman earned his E.M.T. – Paramedic Certification, as well as Ohio Fire Service Instructor, Structural Collapse Technician and Hazardous Materials Technician. He holds a bachelors degree of Business Administration, Human Resources Major.
With his assignment in Special Operations, he is a member of Lucas County Emergency Planning Committee, and a member of the Toledo Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Lieutenant Victor Ellis was appointed to the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department on September 22, 1989. He earned his E.M.T. – Paramedic Certification on April 21, 1994, and on June 10, 2002 was promoted to Lieutenant. He was awarded the 2004 Outstanding Service Award, Owens Community College Alumni Association. Lieutenant Ellis holds a bachelors degree from Bowling Green State University.
Lieutenant Ellis is currently assigned to the Special Operations Bureau where among several responsibilities he is involved with grant writing, training technical rescue teams, and memberships on various committees related to Special Operations.
Special Operations Bureau
2144 Monroe Street
Toledo, Ohio 43604