Reedy Creek Fire & Rescue Services at Walt Disney World May Drop Special Operations Team


Reedy Creek Fire and Rescue Services at Walt Disney World may drop special operation and response team if government agency proposal is approved.  The 45 member team known as SOAR was created by Reedy Creek after the September 11th terrorist attacks.   The special ops team who currently gets special training in detection of chemical agents and collapsed building rescues would lose no only their training but certification as well.   However, the team has responded to hotel kitchen chemical spills, fuel spills and rescue from hotel under construction to name a few as well as standard fire-rescue duties.  The removal of the special operations team would also affect wages and higher level continuing education credits.

Tim Stromsnes, president of the Reedy Creek Fire Fighters Association Local 2117 shared “I think it’s a disservice to the guest … for us not to have that team.”  While District Administrator Bill Warren said there has been “minimal need for the program to respond, and so we’re taking a hard look at it.” The department shared saving hundreds of thousands of dollars with the discontinued services.  Funds which would then go towards general emergency training.   Although Warren went on to say ” The cost of the program is not the driving force here,” “It’s the delivery of the highest qualified team, and the county clearly has that”  but it makes some wonder, just how much of a factor the savings has in the decision.

Reedy Creek’s team disbandment would result in the need for Orange County firefighters  who have  had a special operations team since 1989 to respond to unusual situations.    But Stromsnes argues that because Disney World is so high-profile and attracts so many visitors, it warrants having its own specialized force that could quickly respond to a catastrophe.

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