Coastal Rescue Unit

In 1986, the Department purchased wetsuits, fins, and rescue tubes to designated 'Surf Rescue' firehouses. Then in 1989, all firehouses along the oceanfront were designated 'surf rescue' firehouses. Firefighters at these 'surf rescue' firehouses must take and pass the department's' Surf Rescue' Course, which consists of a week-long ocean lifeguard course.  Once a Firefighter passes the class, they are designated a rescue swimmer and are required to maintain their skill level which includes a bi-yearly recertification course. As of 01-01-2021, the Department has over 300 rescue swimmers responding to an average of 300 rescues a year along our coastlines. 

The Department responds to and manages Cliff Rescues throughout San Francisco with two Rescue Squads, 2 Coastal Rescue units, and 20 Truck Companies that serve as light rescues.  Rescue technicians are required to have the State Fire Marshal Rescue Systemes 1 class as a minimum.