The typical demands and influencing factors that challenge our daily delivery of emergency fire, rescue and ems services are further compounded by the increased level of sophistication required to handle those situations that inherently possess higher degrees of technical intervention by operating companies.
There is also the realization, based upon our understanding and the continuing lessons disseminated from of the events of 9-11, that our world, as we knew it, has significantly changed. Risk potential & threat thresholds, whether perceived or real have demanded increased attention towards planning, preparedness, capabilities, competencies, resources and integration of tiered response systems to meet current and projected incident response demands and challenges.
Although current emergency management trends escalates preparedness planning to a larger, more global response and mitigation level, acceptable risk level assessment must be determined by local conditions and must be identified and equated to the capabilities of the emergency service delivery system on the community level.
Based upon past historical responses, many fire departments have recognized the need for the development and deployment of specialized personnel. Allowing departments to handle incidents that demand a greater degree of technical training, enhanced tactical capabilities and expanded incident management. Allowing departments to safely and effectively mitigate incidents. The growth and expansion of hazardous materials in the 1980's is a typical example of this increased level of responsibility and expanded scope in carrying out a fire departments mission to its community and jurisdiction.
In the previous article, Assessing & Defining Needs for Technical Rescue/ Special Operations, we discussed the issues and influencing factors associated with the developing trends. The potential risk factors that may be present within a jurisdiction with specific regard to technical rescue deployment, and the emerging challenges and demands that have become evident in this era of post 9.11 events.
The need for specialized technical rescue capabilities must be focused and dictated by identified or predictable local risk levels present or the inherent hazard potential that exists coupled with the limitations and existing capabilities a department may have for specialized technical rescue responses.
Most often, these local or regional risk factors have driven the need to deploy specialized rescue teams. Either due to increased demands associated with daily responses to technical rescue situations such as high angle rope rescue, water and dive rescue or situations such as trench/excavation cave-ins or structural collapse incidents. Other times the need for technical rescue capabilities are identified as a direct result of specific challenges encountered by operating agencies at specific incidents in which deficiencies or impediments influenced the outcome of the respective incident.
At such time that these factors are recognized or identified, a jurisdiction must determine the appropriate course of action in order to increase or enhance its capabilities for response to similar occurrences in the future. Assuming there is an actual or perceived need for technical rescue capabilities, what methodologies or directions should an organization take to implement or enhance its technical rescue operations?
In these times of increasing perceived or actual risk threats and homeland preparedness the scope of existing services must be thoroughly assessed properly planned and adequately developed.
Special Operations & Technical Rescue Scope
Developing a technical rescue team relies heavily on a thorough understanding of the issues surrounding the needs associated with such a team. Coupled with an appropriate planning process that will ultimately lead an agency towards its established goals of enhanced rescue capabilities.