Abel Fernandez is a retired Chief Fire Officer from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. He served in various roles in the department, both in operations and staff positions. Some of his accomplishments during his 22-year career included the development and implementation of industry leading programs. The Marine Operations Bureau he spearheaded was responsible for the creation of the Fire Boat program for Miami-Dade County and the surrounding waterways. This program became a national model. Additionally, Chief Fernandez created the current Haztox Paramedic program at Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. His vision and foresight lead the way for first responders to medically treat victims of hazardous material exposures.
Chief Fernandez rose thru the ranks from firefighter, to Fire Lieutenant, Fire Captain and retired as a Chief Fire Officer. During each segment of his career, Chief Fernandez looked for innovations to make the Fire Service a proactive segment of the emergency services world. Whether on a large incident such as a high-rise fire and explosion, a specialized incident involving hazardous materials or leadership in the community, Chief Fernandez was at the forefront. While still on active duty, he acted on the ground in support of FL DCF’s DSNAP delivery operations in Miami post Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Besides his extensive leadership and organizational experience, Chief Fernandez is a certified Instructor for FEMA’s National Incident Management System (NIMS). He taught the NIMS Incident Command System (ICS) to key DCF headquarters and region staff involved in a Disaster Supplemental Assistance Program (DSNAP) pilot exercise to test the ICS system. This 2018 exercise was at the Florida DCF Secretary’s direction to evaluate ICS as a means to better respond to disasters like hurricanes Irma and Michael.