1. #1
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    Question Technical Rescue Operations..............

    Another thread here, about Mine Fires, has created a question that (IMHO) is deserving of a whole thread in it's own right. The Question is: How do you handle Rescue Work beyond the normal bent fender? Do you go it alone, or take a regional approach? Do you have the Training and Equipment to do the Job?

    Here in Prince Georges County, Md. we have a Tech Rescue Team established on a County wide basis. One group does Rope, Trench, Water, Confined Space, and Structural Collapse. Every member of the team is a Specialist in at least two disciplines, and a operational level person in the others. A call for a Rescue needing the Team will bring the Tech Rescue Team, and all of the appropriate equipment, along with the First due Engine, Truck, Heavy Rescue, Medic unit, and Chief. Other Washington DC/Baltimore Metro-Area Counties also have teams, and Mutual Aid is the norm. Things go well, partly because we train together along with running together.
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    We have a county hazardous materials team that does confined space, hazmat, trench, high angle, etc. etc. etc.

    There are also three heavy rescue companies located in the county, one of which is at my department. The three agencies respond together where appropriate, or each rescue company will handle what it can handle without the required mutual aid. We also have out of county mutual aid that will come in to assist when extra specialized manpower is required.

    Interestingly enough, my company got started into the heavy rescue business in the 1970s, after an individual was killed in a gasoline tanker roll over with entrapment. After we found that we had insufficient capabilities to deal with that incident, we acquired a foam unit. That put us first alarm on all county hazmat calls for the specialized equipment on the truck. We then realized that 'Hey, we need training and a big rescue truck to carry all of our equipment in.'

    So, our rescue was born. A number of our individuals trained the members of the, initially, one other department with a heavy rescue. The two companies came together, and the members secured funding and volunteers to form a county-wide team. The third heavy rescue company was a recent addition to the county line-up, and that was only because the company that started it got burned, A LOT, on rescue calls.
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    My department is trained to the Technician level for surface ice rescue. We have two hovercraft and respond region-wide, usually through the Coast Guard.

    The Toledo Fire Rescue Department is the biggest department in the area so they are the main player for the specialized stuff. They have a Haz Mat Team, Water Rescue (Dive) Team and a Confined Space/Collapse/High Angle team. They respond throughout the region as well.

    We also have two large oil refineries in this area and they will respond a foam "task force" with large tankers and tele-squirt apparatus. They are also available as back-up to the TFRD Haz Mat team.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    We take it regionally here too.

    In addition to Fire and First Responder (medical), our dept focuses on Swiftwater and High Angle Rescue, with a short term focus on basic SAR as well. We do some confined space, and are looking to work on some operations level trench rescue in the future.

    Our neighbouring dept handles advanced V-ex and heavy rescue. Another department about 35 minutes away does ice rescue, and rescue diving in lake environments. No one really does any hazmat beyond the awareness level yet, but I hope one of our neighbours picks that up soon. We don't have a major shipping route/railway in our region, so minimal hazmat exposure.

    I think sharing the specialties help everyone keep costs down, and skills up.
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    Ditto to WTFD10............plus they OWE us ! LOL
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    While our department has first responder cababilities for most types of rescue, we are supplimented by the MABAS division's team.
    We can start a trench, confined space, water (surface or dive), Vertical, collapse, but unless the incident is small we would need the help of the team.
    Training is the key to building skills and trusting the other guys. You don't want to see a guy from another town for the first time when he is setting up you line for going over the edge of a 15 story building.

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up Excellent Point................

    Originally posted by mcaldwell
    We take it regionally here too.
    I think sharing the specialties help everyone keep costs down, and skills up.

    One of the best reasons I've heard yet. Maintaining your skill level in this field is a lot different than Firefighting.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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    Our area has already in place a County wide Hazardous Materials Team and they are looking into doing the same with Technical Rescue.
    I think countywide teams are the way to go with these type of incidents. In most areas these incidents are few and far between(like our fires are sometimes) and regional teams make it available to everyone. Done right it will draw in the best people of the area, the ones that are really wanting to work these types of incidents and not the ones that are not always comfortable with doing everything that a fire department does.
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    In the area of SC where I reside there are several Hazardous Material Teams but out of the departments around - only one operates a Heavy Rescue that is sufficient to call it such. The largest department does not see the wisdom in having a rescue whilst there is a countywide volunteer rescue squad that offers adequate help in many areas.

    The problem, or rather the issue always seems to be coordination. While some will readily agree to share resources or acccept help - still others refuse.

    In my opinion, and it is strictly opinion, everyone can get in over their head with respect to technical rescues and firefighting. Having the common sense to seek others who may help you is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.
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    Here in Lexington we are an Urban-County government which means we have a unified city/county government. That means we cover the whole county not just the city itself. With that said...

    We go it alone but are also part of a larger regional response team.

    We have a special operations team divided into two branches: hazardous materials team and tactical rescue team. Each branch is under a battalion chief.

    The Haz-Mat team consists of 3 specialized response vehicles: Haz-Mat #1 which is the command post and is manned by the Haz-mat shift commander, Haz-Mat #2 which is the equipment truck and is manned by the the training staff, and Haz-Mat #4 which carries mass decon equipment and the Zumro tents. In addition there are 2 Ladder companies and 5 engine companies that are part of the team and are trained to technician level or higher. All others are trained to ops level.

    The rescue team consists of Rescue 1 which is the heavy fire/rescue, Rescue 2 which is the collapse/trench rescue equipment truck, and small boats. The rescue team is also responsible for RIT. Four engine companies are part of the team and trained in all diciplines of tactical rescue and RIT. One of these engines responds to all working fires for RIT duties. All will respond to a confirmed technical rescue incident.

    We are also part of the regional BERT (Bluegrass Emergency Response Team) Team. This is a newly form team in Central Kentucky responding as requested to Haz-Mat, technical rescue and mass casualty incidents. It covers about a 12 county area.

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    Here in San Antonio we have a dedicated Technical Rescue Team based out of station#11 downtown. They are specially trained to the technician level in many areas of specialized rescue (ie. high angle, swiftwater, confined space, trench, dive etc..). The TRT is supplemented by 4 enhanced rescue Truck companies located at each of the four corners of the city. These companies work with or independant of the TRT depending on the nature/severity of the call. HazMat also has a dedicated response team based out of station#35 that responds citywide as needed to assist or assume command at hazmat incidents.

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    Currently, hazmat(Operations level and above) is done by a county team.

    After that, its unfortunatly a roll of the dice. We can cover ourselves for ropes and sorts based on our response area containing popular hiking/rock climbing areas.

    Trench, etc we have awareness and like one guy so it's scarey.

    The positive side is that at county chief's and county association meetings the discussions have begun regarding formation of response teams for these incidents. Our plan is to take some guys from various agencies so that all areas of the county are covered.

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    In my opinion, our area is not properly equipped or trained to a point that it is just scary. We sit crossing our fingers that nothing bad happens, because apparently that is easier than doing something about it.

    My dept., beyond cutters, spreaders, a ram, air bags, a SCRT, and a couple sections of rescue rope, has really nothing to work with for rescue. The county as a whole is a bit better off...we have an awesome swiftwater rescue/dive team, and a couple of depts. have limited high/low angle stuff (and limited training to go along with it). For haz-mat, we call the Hazardous Incident Response Team (HIRT) out of the next county. If it came to a major tech rescue, I honestly am not sure what we'd do. I suppose that the OES would get a hold of someone from somewhere, but how long it will take for them to get to us is another issue.

    In this area, we have so many hazards...it's WV...LOTS of uneven land and natural hazards, and you add that to the hazards such as the old mine shafts and sink holes, like I mentioned in mine fire thread, and we have the potential for SERIOUS problems. We also have some industrial settings with confined spaces. Everyone wants to take structural firefighting classes. I actually am the only person in my dept. who is willing to take the rescue classes.

    I complain and complain and it does no good. I am working on my certs in high/low angle rescue, confined spaces, and haz-mat...when I feel that I have enough training behind me to be credible, I am going to approach the county OES and try to get a county team going for high/low angle and confined spaces at least...we'll see how that goes.
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    like FFtrainer, HazMat is run by the county, but that's about it.

    Some individual towns have specialized teams, but I don't think it's regionalized or county-wide.

    a justification that I've been told for every department having the responsibility to do everything:
    As a citizen, why are my tax dollars being used to train these firefighters xyz specialized rescue, when most of the time a rescue is being done in other tax districts? and those districts aren't financially compensating my district for use of our specialize services.

    I, personally, think that's a crap reason, but my Lt. did tell it to me once, and it does make sense.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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