Many firefighters go through additional training and join specialized teams. These teams include:
Rapid Intervention Team (RIT)
Our most valuable asset is our Firefighters. The RAFD RIT is a specially trained team of firefighters whose only job on the scene of a fire is to rescue an injured firefighter. The RAFD RIT is invaluable to us and also serves as part of the Fond du Lac County RIT responding to fires in surrounding communities to standby to rescue a firefighter in trouble.
The Ripon area is home to numerous private and community retention ponds. In addition, Ripon, has a 24 acre public Mill Pond and dam where locals and tourists alike gather for ice skating, canoeing and fishing; and Rush Lake in Nepeuskun has a public 2,729 acre marsh used for boating and fishing.
RAFD has advanced its water rescue team and includes certified divers who perform underwater rescue within minutes -- giving victims the best chance of survival. Thanks to the teamwork of our dive team, we are better able to protect lives in these communities.
In late 2017 the RAFD developed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Drone) Program. The drone team includes pilots, visual observers, and support equipment operators. The drone carries both visible and thermal cameras and has the ability to drop light weight payloads such as a personal flotation device during a water rescue mission. It is designed to give personnel a view from the air in any number of circumstances. It is used for monitoring and relaying information at fire scenes, search and rescue, and natural disaster damage assessments.
Drones are being used to assist not only the RAFD but also local law enforcement agencies, neighboring fire departments, and county emergency agencies. With the ability to assist in saving lives and helping to keep our emergency response personnel safe, this program and team have become a vital part of the RAFD mission.
Cause and Origin Team (Fire Investigations)
In 2018 the RAFD created a fire investigation team consisting of Ripon Area Fire District Firefighters and Ripon Police Officers who determine the cause and origin of all fires in the RAFD fire protection boundaries.
Determining the cause of the fire allows us to take steps to prevent future fires through education, noting product defects, creating policies designed to eliminate fires from occurring, or requiring the use of residential sprinklers for example. Investigations can also help identify intentionally set fires that could lead to the arrest by law enforcement of the person(s) responsible. Successful fire investigations depend on good working relationships between fire and police.
Youthful Fire Setter
The RAFD has certified six of its fire investigators in Youthful Fire Setter skills. These members work with children who have been found playing with fire, matches, lighters, or are intrigued by fire in an unusual way. We are proud to assist parents in diverting potential tragic events where a child might be injured or bring harm to others and property.
The RAFD Honor Guard is dedicated to honoring fallen firefighters, their families, and department members, past and present, with honor at ceremonial functions. Full military-style honors are accorded to those who die in the line of duty. The Honor Guard also Posts Colors at special events, marches in parades, and assists in planning ceremonies for department members (promotions, retirements, etc.)