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  1. #1
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    Mar 2006

    Default "Heavy Rescue" defined

    I have seen the lable "Heavy Rescue" used to describe a number of different apparatus. My question is what is the correct definition?

  2. #2
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    Jun 2006


    heavy rescue= ladder men that are afraid of heights!!! Sorry I couldn't resist.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Nov 2002
    Hampton, Virginia

    Default Heavy Rescue

    Although there is no true definition of what a "Heavy Rescue" apparatus is, the department running a piece of equipment is usually responsible for determining the designation. For example, in the Air Force we have several types of rescue units.

    First, we have the light rescue unit which basically carries three personnel with medical, search and rescue, and extrication equipment. This is your average piece of equipment.

    Then there is the "Heavy Rescue" unit which is equipped with 3 to 4 personnel and carries everything that a department may use on a technical rescue incident. Types of equipment would be:
    • - Confined space equipment (tripod, hardware, ropes, communications, patient packaging, etc),
    • - Extrication equipment (power units, electrical units, struts, cribbing (a lot!) shoring, pneumatic air bags or pillows, etc),
    • - Water rescue (dive equipment, suits, retrieval equipment, patient packaging, line gun, etc),
    • - Rope rescue (ropes, hardware, patient packaging (stokes baskets), mechanical advantage systems, high angle rescue equipment, etc).

    As you can see the "Heavy Rescue" unit is equipped with more than the everyday equipment that would be used on an average response.

    The last rescue unit the Air Force is utilizing is the Hazardous Materials response / rescue unit. This piece of equipment may carry up to 6 personnel. Although fairly new to the inventory, this particular apparatus is similar in design to a "Heavy Rescue" unit complete with telescoping lights and an onboard Command Post / Center". This unit responds only to Hazardous Materials emergencies as the equipment on board is specific to these types of emergencies.

    So in summary to your question, there is no true set in stone definition of a "Heavy Rescue" apparatus other than it is one designated for Technical / Specialized rescues.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2006

    Default Thank you for your attention

    PyroPat and KFERRARA2002,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I was looking for a definition that apparently does not exist. I am sure at one time I read that the term "Heavy Rescue" was to be used for apparatus that could meet some specific "set in stone" task - ability to lift 8 tons or more - as an example. If I remember correctly it was a critera that was more specific than just "small, medium, large".

    Again, thank you for your reply.

    Stay safe out there.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2001


    Check the FEMA website for their "Typing" document and search for heavy rescue. I haven't looked, but if there is a true definition for a "Heavy Rescue", you'll find it there.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Nov 1999


    Quote Originally Posted by jmatthe2 View Post
    Check the FEMA website for their "Typing" document and search for heavy rescue. I haven't looked, but if there is a true definition for a "Heavy Rescue", you'll find it there.
    FEMA\NIMS resource typing does not have a category for rescue vehicles.
    "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
    Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

  7. #7
    Forum Member frenchfireball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007


    i found this short definition,maybe it could help:

    "sauver ou périr"

    "courage et dévouement"

    2 french mottoes in french fire service.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Wheaton IL


    When I started in the fire service, my area didn't have heavy rescue companies, and very few places had apparatus. The definition I always followed was from the old civil defense rescue texts. http://www.civildefensemuseum.com/rescueserv/index.html
    This was the start of our FEMA USAR Teams, the illistrations in the early texts are still being used today. They had the right idea but the fireservice ignored it for the most part.
    Now, I would say any large rescue unit with the equipment and manning to handle various rescue scenarios that the average ladder company can't would qualify for heavy rescue. Collapse, confined space, rope, and trench rescue should be included along with vehicle and machenery, water, haz mat and of course the new kid on the block WMD. By the way, the civil defense rescue classes also adressed WMD way back in the 50's and 60's but we knew better and blew it all off. Now it is all back to the front of our minds.
    Anyway, I bet somewhere stuffed in a box in your county EMA the text books still sit there. If you can get your hands on some it is some interesting reading. It is amazing how it is now current again.

  9. #9
    Forum Member vehext's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    Default Heavy Rescue Def

    I've looked all over and cannot find a real good definition. In Virginia, we have an association of rescue squads (Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads - VAVRS) that has annual ALS/BLS, driving and rescue competitions. As part of the rescue competitions, they publish an equipment list for each category:


    They classify rescues as to the weight of the vehicle:

    Light Rescue = < 14,500 lbs.
    Medium Rescue = 14,501 - 19,5000 lbs.
    Heavy Rescue = > 19,501 lbs.

    Hope this helps!

    John E. Burruss, NREMT-P
    Heavy-Technical Rescue Instructor
    Virginia Department of Fire Programs

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Smile Thanks!

    Great information.........

    Thank you all for your thoughts.


  11. #11
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Yadkinville, NC

    Default Heavy Rescue Definition

    Here in North Carolina, we have a set of standards that were adopted by
    our State Rescue Association several years ago:


    These standards revolve around equipment, training, and personnel, NOT the
    size of the vehicle, etc. We have several "heavy squads" across the state that have the cache of equipment dispersed on multiple vehicles. That being said, a lot of squads do have "one stop shopping" with the most common set up being that the heavy, confined space, and high angle standards are all being carried on one truck. That's our set up in Forsyth County.


    Take care

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