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.

There are six pertinent NFPA Standards that should be considered required readings that will provide additional guidance in the planning and development process:

  • NFPA 1006, Standard for Rescue Technician Professional Qualifications, 2000 edition
  • NFPA 1500,Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program, 1997 edition.
  • NFPA 1561, Standard on Fire Department Incident Management System, 2000 edition.
  • NFPA 1670,Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Rescue Incidents, 1999 edition.
  • NFPA 1951, Standard on Protective Ensemble for USAR Operations, 2000 edition.
  • NFPA 1983,Standard on Fire Service Life Safety Rope and System Components, 2001 edition.

Technical Rescue Training Considerations

Technical Rescue Training development planning must include provisions for initial team start-up and provide measures for competencies applicable to the specific or multiple discipline area(s) of technical rescue deployment. This area of program involvement must be scheduled in a manner that will allow for sufficient time to elapse prior to team deployment and activation in order to develop the necessary skills and techniques that will be required of the personnel in their respective assignments. Remember, there is little room for errors or lapses in skills and required competencies at actual incidents, therefore there MUST be a high degree of confidence and reliability that personnel assigned to the team are truly competent in their acquired skills and are operationally deployable.

The training methodologies should be well developed and make use of both classroom and extensive practical hands-on skills development. Tool and equipment acquisitions must be made prior to the initiation of the training program or the availability of proposed tool selection should be obtained from vendors or manufacturers to ensure that personnel become familiar with the operations, functions and limitations of these appliances in their respective rescue capacities during the respective training cycles.

The Technical Rescue Training program and schedule should be:

  • Realistic
  • Achievable
  • Measurable
  • Documented
  • Technically Accurate

In addition, the training program development phase should include considerations for the following:

  • Identify & integrate applicable Standards and Regulations- these form the basis for the program(s)
  • Research existing local, regional and national training program offerings
  • Survey Fire Department personnel/staff for existing levels of expertise
  • Review training records of personnel for appropriate selection criteria or special attributes
  • Establish Funding Source(s)/Budget
  • Coordinate with Departmental Training schedule and activities
  • Establish "Train-the-Trainer" Program
  • Secure Technical Assistance from outside/private agencies and sources
  • Contract with private training consultants offering specialized services if applicable
  • Identify cross-disciplinary teams, local/regional/national for training opportunities or cooperative training integration
  • Identify upper tier special operations technical rescue teams and coordinate training and operational protocols to ensure fluid consistency in future operations
  • Establish Training Schedule; initial, sustained and re-qualification cycles
  • Implement Training Program
  • Monitor, Evaluate, Validate
  • Test & Re-qualify
  • Revise and update as required

Although the focus of deployment capabilities may be direct to the technical rescue team, it is very important to always consider the support function of other personnel and companies within the organization. There may be numerous support functions and requirements that may be required for tactical deployment objectives, with these task assignments being able to be carried out by the balance of responding companies for the incident assignment. These companies and their personnel become a critical resource in carrying out respective technical rescue assignment functions. The NFPA 1670 standard specifies lower tiered support capability requirements and training levels for those respective disciplines. Integrating ALL personnel within the organization into a training program whereby they gain a level of competency and understanding of the technical rescue operational arena, will ensure the highest degree of personnel safety during technical rescue incident operations.