View Poll Results: Which type of technical rescue incident is most common in your jurisdiction?

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  • Dive/Swift Water

    5 33.33%
  • Confined Space

    2 13.33%
  • Trench

    2 13.33%
  • High-Angle

    6 40.00%
  1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Dothan, AL, USA

    Exclamation Technical Rescue Continuing Training Study

    I am conducting a Staff Study on the development of a Continuing Training Program for the Dothan Fire Dept. Technical Rescue Team.
    Currently the team members are made up of Certified Technical Rescuers in one or more of the following disciplines: Trench, Confined-Space, Rope, and Dive Rescue.
    The objective of the staff study is to determine the most efficient method of maintaining proficiency in these various disciplines.
    If you have any data that would provide information on the following questions, it would be most appreciated.

    1. How many hours per year should a Rescue Technician have in each of his/her disciplines to maintain proficiency?
    2. How should these hours be scheduled (i.e.: regularly throughout the year; or as an extensive multi-day event concerning the selected discipline?
    3. How should the personnel be compensated for the time spent at these training sessions?

    Again, any data that you can provide would be most appreciative.

    Stephen Messer
    Special Operations
    Dothan Fire-REscue

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Candler, NC USA


    Here in North Carolina we are faced with the same problems you have mentioned. In my own department, I try to cover topics that are relevant during that time of year, such as water rescue in the months we have most of the rain, high angle and rope rescue during the peak tourist season for the Blue Ridge Parkway area, and so on.

    As far as reimbursement for the classes, most of our department is volunteer. That only becomes an issue when we send someone to a weekend class out of town. I have it set up to cover all meals and registration, plus one night hotel stay for each member attending. This gives the members some incentive to attend an advanced school.

    I have found in my 6 years of being Training Officer and 2 1/2 years as a rescue instructor, if you hold a class on 2 full days, such as a weekend or a weeknight and a Saturday, then people are most likely to show up. This lets you get a lot of information and hands on training, plus limits the time commitment from the members. Our state does a multiple-day event every spring for Search and Rescue. This involves several counties and agencies on a full scale event. One way to increase the interest and training is to schedule classes that would be open to the surrounding departments in your area. This would allow you to become familiar with each other on a working level and also for other departments to become familiar with the way you do things. On another note, allow members who might not be a part of the actual team to attend the training, as long as they meet a minimum required for what you are doing. After all, it is always nice to have someone else that knows the job on scene when you need it. Also, this will help get others ready to join the team in the future.

    As far as a minimum number of hours for the training per year, our state only requires 36 hours per year to maintain all benefits for Federal or State line of duty death. You can set your own minimum. I would suggest no less than 8 hours per month on any discipline your team does. This will at least give your members a good exposure at some point to anything they might be called to.

    If I can be of any assistance to you or your team in the future, feel free to let me know. I am a certified Fire & Rescue Instructor in North Carolina, with a specialty in Rope and Technical Rescue.

    Good Luck!
    Benjamin Lunsford
    Captain / Training Officer
    Upper Hominy Fire Rescue
    Candler, NC

    Tell me, I will forget. Show me, I will remember. Involve me, I will understand.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
    NCRSQ751's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Clemmons, NC


    Total number of training hours? That is the magic question. We require a minimum of 60 hours to be able to come on scene and be a gopher, the hours for each area of rescue go up from there to get you from awareness level to operations and technician. Our people average anywhere from 100 to 800+ hours of training a year.

    How should you balance your training - proportion it by what you currently have and most importantly what is projected for your jurisdiction. What kind of industry/tourism/terrain do you have? What is planned? Once you find out what your major focus needs to be you can proportion your training accordingly. There is no magic formula - train your people in what you will NEED. They should know a bit of everything in case they are called to act with others (you may not have any bodies of water - but that doesn't mean you can't have a flood or your neighbors won't need help!)- but your concentration should always be on what you will most likely need in your area first.

    I agree that weekend classes - dedicating a Friday night, Saturday and Sunday once a quarter to a particular kind of excercise is a great idea - then supplement with once a week drills or classes. Set the schedules (at least the dates) well in advance so people can plan.

    As for compensation, I couldn't tell you - we're all volunteer with no tax base so there's only the satisfaction of knowing you did it... you could have a big dinner the last night with everyone attending - anything from hamburgers to spaghetti - just to say great job!

    Best of luck!
    Susan Lounsbury
    Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
    Griffith Volunteer FD

  4. #4
    MEDIC O372 Guest


    I do not like to set a minimum number of hours needed for something like this. I have developed a Skills sheet and objective sheet that must be maintained. Check out NFPA 1670 for starters...there is a good list of objectives inside. For initial training our members must meet the set objectives and complete the skill sheets. To maintain skills we review thru-out the year.
    Example: Rope Rescue - develope a skills sheet that covers EVERY skill that you want the members to know.

    E-mail me your E-address and I will send you our skills sheet.

    Take care and be safe but most of all have fun.
    Medic 0372

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Somewhere in the Backcountry...


    Gotta agree w/Susan and Medic0372. Look at your likely operational mix/situations. Spend most of your training resources on those areas that you are likely to see.

    Total # of hours. Much tougher and not necessarily the best measure. Look to your state or similar oversight agencies if you have regulatory issues to address.

    Our specialty is mountain rescue so we put in 100's of hours in the areas that are related to that - specifically the rope rescue skills, swiftwater, and snow/ice. Some is spent on confined space but the spaces are caves/mines.

    One thing to watch is not just the training hours, but the proficiency. You can go to every class in the world and have a skill base of zero. These areas require constant practice to ensure proficiency. Skill sheets are great. Also - run scenarios - make people put the whole thing together (not just skills in isolation). Put people in "new" roles (as long as they have the skills to be safe).

    Mix in weekends, evenings, etc. Provide enough opportunity to work everyone's skills.

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