Technical Rescue - Part III

The NFPA 1670 Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Rescue Incidents provides the basis from which the development, training and operations for special operations technical rescue teams are measured against.


  • Size-up of existing and potential conditions at structural collapse incidents
  • Identification of the resources necessary to conduct safe and effective structural collapse search and rescue operations
  • Development and implementation of procedures for carrying out the emergency response system for structural collapse incidents
  • Development and implementation of procedures for carrying out site control and scene management
  • Recognition of general hazards associated with structural collapse incidents including the recognition of applicable construction types and categories and the expected behaviors of components and materials in a structural collapse
  • Identification of five types of collapse patterns and potential victim locations
  • Recognition of the potential for secondary collapse
  • Development and implementation of procedures for conducting visual and verbal searches at structural collapse incidents, while using appropriate methods for the specific type of collapse
  • Development and implementation of procedures for the recognition and implementation of the FEMA Task Force Search and Rescue Marking System, Building Marking System (structure/hazard evaluation), and Structure Marking System (structure identification within a geographic area)
  • Development and implementation of procedures for the removal of readily accessible victims from structural collapse incidents

Operations-Level functions at structural collapse incidents shall include the following:

Personnel operating at the Operations Level must meet ALL awareness-level requirements specified in the NFPA 1670 standard. In addition, personnel shall be capable of hazard recognition, equipment use, and techniques necessary to operate safely and effectively at structural collapse incidents involving the collapse or failure of light-frame ordinary construction and un-reinforced and reinforced masonry construction.

Personnel operating at the Operations Level must also meet ALL operations-level requirements regarding rope rescue, confined space rescue, transportation/machinery, and trench & excavation rescue identified within the NFPA 1670 standard. In addition, ALL personnel operating at this Operations level must also meet ALL awareness-level requirements regarding water rescue specified within the NFPA 1670 standard.

Operations-level functions at structural collapse incidents for light-frame ordinary construction and reinforced and un-reinforced masonry construction includes the development and implementation of the following:

  • Procedures for recognizing unique collapse or failure hazards
  • Procedures for search operations intended to locate victims trapped inside and beneath collapse debris
  • Procedures for accessing victims trapped inside and beneath collapse debris
  • Procedures for performing extrication operations involving packaging, treating, and removing victims trapped within and beneath collapse debris
  • Procedures for stabilizing the structure

Technician-Level functions at structural collapse incidents shall include the following:

Personnel operating at the Technician Level must have met ALL operations-level requirements and ALL awareness-level requirements specified in the lower level competencies. In addition, personnel shall be capable of hazard recognition, equipment use, and techniques necessary to operate safely and effectively at structural collapse incidents involving the collapse or failure of concrete tilt-up, reinforced concrete, and steel construction.

Personnel operating at the Technician Level shall meet all technician-level requirements regarding rope, confined space, transportation/machinery, and trench specified within the NFPA 1670 standard.

Technician-level functions at structural collapse incidents for concrete tilt-up, reinforced concrete, and steel construction includes the development and implementation of the following:

  • Procedures for recognizing unique collapse or failure hazards
  • Procedures for search operations intended to locate victims trapped inside and beneath collapse debris
  • Procedures for accessing victims trapped inside and beneath collapse debris
  • Procedures for performing extrication operations involving packaging, treating, and removing victims trapped within and beneath collapse debris
  • Procedures for stabilizing the structure

Confined Space Rescue Team Operational Capability

These Confined Space Rescue Team requirements apply to departments that provide varying degrees of response to confined space emergencies. The scope of these requirements includes all confined space rescue incidents and response organizations including those not regulated by U.S. federal mandates.

Personnel operating at the Awareness Level must also meet the awareness-level requirements regarding rope rescue and ALL awareness-level requirements specified in NFPA 472, Standard for Professional Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials Incidents. Organizations at this level shall be responsible for performing certain non-entry rescue (retrieval) operations.

Awareness-level functions for confined space rescue incidents include the following: