In a small, socially distant ceremony, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officially took ownership of the first of four Leonardo AW139 helicopters this week. The four helicopters were ordered in late 2019 and delivery of the remaining 3 is scheduled before the end of the year.
The AW139 is a significant upgrade to the aging fleet of helicopters currently in use by MDFR. Miami Dade Air Rescue now joins the likes of the Los Angeles Fire Department and the State Police Departments of New Jersey and Maryland in ownership of these specially configured helicopters. The AW139 is even being modified for the US Air Force.
“As a former firefighter, I’ve been very impressed with this world-class search-and-rescue helicopter.” Mayor Gimenez stated at the ceremony. The AW139 will serve MDFR in many capacities. It will assist in situations requiring fire suppression, emergency medical support, and even in search and rescue missions. The model features a cargo hook, Bambi bucket, and a rescue hoist.
The MDFR Department is often called upon to assist other counties and these new additions to their fleet will only increase their ability to lend aid. Monroe, Collier, Broward, and Palm Beach departments all provide mutual aid, thus an upgrade in Miami-Dade means an upgrade for the surrounding areas as well.
About the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department
Even without the mutual aid agreements, the MDFR Department is busy enough to justify the expense. The county itself covers 2,000 square miles and is home to 2.7 million residents. MDFR also services the 16 million annual visitors to the county, 29 municipalities, and more than 80,000 businesses. They responded to over 250,000 fire rescue calls in the fiscal year 2018-2019. The Miami-Dade Air Rescue Unit provides services throughout the county.
MDFR is accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), which is part of the Center for Public Safety Excellence. MDFR is one of only 270 agencies in the world to achieve International Accreditation Agency status by CFAI and is the largest accredited fire rescue department in the Southeast and the second largest in the nation.