Technical Rescue – Part IV

Sept. 5, 2003
The typical demands associated with the response to a site-specific collapse rescue incident or a region-wide disaster with collapse considerations can quickly overwhelm even the largest of emergency service agencies.
The typical demands associated with the response to a site-specific collapse rescue incident or a region-wide disaster with collapse considerations can quickly overwhelm even the largest of emergency service agencies. Even with an effective in-place incident management system, the planning and logistical demands placed upon incident managers coupled with the varied requirements for meeting tactical deployment requests can impede or impair the most efficient of organizations or departments.

Due to the potential complexities associated with collapse rescue situations and the variety of conditions and parameters that may be present at site specific or large scale disaster collapse incidents, external resource allocation and deployment becomes a necessity in order to enhance and support operational incident requirements.

The need for comprehensive community risk assessment and planning for complex collapse or disaster responses forms the foundation for subsequent incident operations. One component of community risk assessment planning focuses upon the development of a database of external resources and technical support that could be deployed and utilized in order to facilitate strategic and tactical objectives.

Community Resource Planning

Community Resource Planning - CRP provides the means by which an agency or jurisdiction can enhance identified internal deficiencies and provide a system for external resource allocation that will provide on-scene incident commanders and assigned management and supervisory personnel with the necessary resources to augment the agency's ability to respond and operate at collapse incidents. This would be considered a crucial element when considering the burden that may be placed upon the ICM functional area of logistics and finance at demanding incidents.

As with any incident response, the successful intervention, operation and termination of the incident is directly related to the degree of resources available or deployed, coupled with the effectiveness and efficiency of their respective tactical assignments, objectives and time management parameters.

Effective deployment of a community resource plan provides for a pre-determined and coordinated means of supporting the planning and logistical demands associated with collapse rescue incidents, and allows for the substantial reduction in the time allotments required to identify, locate and subsequently contact and call-out resources for anticipated or required deployment needs.

Community resource planning is not an entirely new concept within the fire and emergency service delivery system. The identification and utilization of mutual-aid agencies and companies to augment daily fire, rescue, and ems alarm assignments is a commonplace element in many jurisdictions. The need to enhance local jurisdictional manpower and equipment needs through mutual-aid establishes the ability of the receiving agency to deploy adequate resources at a given incident and to increase the ability to mitigate the conditions present at respective incidents.

The size, organizational structure, internal capabilities and resources, operating environment and technical rescue capabilities of the department, coupled with the identified community risk hazards will determine to what extent the community resource plan will be developed. The magnitude, severity and frequency of collapse related incidents and responses will also dictate the methodology of the planning process.

The community resource plan is unique to each department or agency in the identification and formulation of select resource criteria and on the subsequent development of the community Resource Directory-CRD. The focus of both the Community Resource Plan-CRP and Community Resource Directory-CRD, is to augment and enhance the limitations of the jurisdictions capabilities during collapse rescue operations and provide the framework and operating structure to build effective, safe and timely rescue operations.

The basis of the Community Resource Plan is to establish contacts, identify procedures and initiate agreements with local, jurisdictional, regional and/or state and national entities for the procurement of identified resource needs. Through careful and thorough research and preplanning, a useful database can be developed that includes established procurement procedures and memorandum of agreement.

Functional Support Areas

There are four basic functional areas that can be generally associated with the categories of resource planning for collapse rescue response. These include but are not limited to:

  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Services
  • Technical Support

The broad range from which these four functional areas can be expanded to provide the framework for developing the categories of resources that potentially could be called upon by the incident commander in the event of incident logistical demands. Since the basis of the community resource plan and resource directory are established and defined by the identification of internal agency/department limitations or deficiencies, they are also directly related to the degree of risk potential that the community and jurisdiction is susceptible to.

The relationship of current operational capabilities coupled with the influence of existing mutual-aid agreements and assignments will provide a measurement by which the parameters of the community risk profile and analysis can be factored in order to determine the existing limitations and deficiencies. This juncture provides the steppingstone from which the research and development of a database of external resources can be undertaken.

Typically, the development of a community resource plan will entail selective focus upon two of the four functional area categories. These traditionally identify resource allocation needs for equipment and supplies. Although broad based in scope, the equipment category will also provide identifiable manpower resource that would ultimately be factored into the resource database, plan and directory.

The ability to project incident needs associated with collapse-rescue response, again related to site specific or region-wide disaster collapse responses will be determined by the degree of awareness, knowledge and experience the staff personnel assigned to the task of identification and compilation have in the projected incident risk factor areas. Networking with other departments and agencies that have encountered similar identified incident responses can provide a wealth of information and guidance in the actual resource requirements that may have been called for or utilized.

The scope and extent of specific line items that can be researched from within the four functional categories, can run the gamut of topic areas and potential contact points. The following listing can provide an overview of selective line items that could be developed into such a database. These listings are non-inclusive but do represent the major sub-classifications that have applicability to collapse-rescue incident resource requirements.


  • Construction Equipment and Supply Firms
  • Hydraulic; Pneumatic; Mechanic Jack Vendors
  • Air Tools Suppliers
  • Compressors Firms
  • Generators Vendors
  • Scaffolding Companies
  • Shoring Supply Vendors
  • Aerial Lifts Companies
  • Sawing & Cutting Equipment
  • Light & Heavy Equipment Firms
  • Backhoe Supplies
  • Bulldozer Companies
  • Excavator Firms
  • Fork Lift Companies
  • Conveyors & Material Handlers
  • Loaders; Trenchers; Skid-Steer Loaders
  • Cranes; Rigging/Erection Firms
  • Flood Lighting & Search Lights
  • Temporary Lighting Vendors
  • Fire Equipment & Supply Firms
  • Public Works Agencies
  • Concrete Construction Form Suppliers
  • Concrete Cutting, Breaking & Sawing Firms
  • Welding Supply Companies
  • Television & Communication Equipment Supply Companies
  • Ham Radio Operators Groups
  • Cellular Phone Companies
  • Computer Equipment Supply & Rental Companies
  • Office Equipment Suppliers
  • Portable Pump Vendors
  • Hydraulic Tool Distributors
  • Radio Communication & Equipment Suppliers
  • Tent Suppliers & Distributors


  • Lumber Yards
  • Contractor Wholesale Firms
  • Hardware Supply Firms
  • Rental Service and Supply Companies
  • Grocers & Food Suppliers
  • Utility Companies
  • Portable Shelter & Tent Firms
  • Fuel Distributors
  • Fire Equipment & Supply Firms (local/regional)
  • Power Tool Suppliers
  • Office Supply Companies
  • Computer Equipment Companies
  • Clothing Supply Vendors
  • Building Materials Supply Firms
  • Medical Supply Companies
  • Compressed Gases Supply Distributors
  • Bag, Burlap, Canvas Mfg.
  • Battery Distributors
  • Chemical Supply and Distributor Companies
  • Ice Supply Vendors


  • Banquet & Party Supply Companies
  • Catering Companies
  • Transportation Service Companies
  • Buses; Public, Private; School Districts
  • Tree and Debris Removal Firms
  • Portable Restroom Supply Companies
  • Towing Services Firms
  • Tire Distributors/Repair Firms
  • Aviation/Helicopter Services
  • Glass/Windshield Repair Companies
  • Rubbish/Dumpster Suppliers & Haulers
  • Trucking and Leasing Companies
  • Beverage Supply and Distributors
  • All-terrain/ATV Firms
  • Boat Supply Companies
  • Baking Companies
  • Tool Sharpening Firms
  • Equipment Repair Companies
  • Small Engine Repair Companies
  • Awning & Canopy Mfg. Firms
  • Bottled Water Distributors
  • Bulk Ice Distributors
  • Fencing Companies

Technical Support Services
Local & Regional professional societies, associations and trade groups

  • American Institute of Architects
  • American Society of Consulting Engineers
  • Association of Building Contractors
  • American Society of Safety Engineers
  • American Public Works Association
  • Association of General Contractors
  • American Concrete Institute
  • American Institute of Steel Construction
  • Association of Engineering Geologists
  • Building Code Officials & Fire Marshal Associations
  • Construction Specification Institute
  • Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute
  • International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers
  • International Association for Earthquake Engineering
  • National Society of Professional Engineers
  • Physicians & Surgeons Professional Associations

General Contractors

  • Demolition Contractors
  • Excavation Contractors
  • Drilling & Boring Contractors
  • Heavy Equipment Operators
  • Steel Erectors & Fabricators
  • Utility Contractors

Consulting Professionals

  • Consulting Engineers & Architects
  • Architects
  • Civil Engineers
  • Construction Engineers
  • Chemical Engineers
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Hazardous Materials Specialists
  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Marine Engineers
  • Occupational Safety & Health Specialist
  • Soil Engineers
  • Sanitary Engineers
  • Safety, Health & Hygiene Engineers
  • Structural Engineers
  • Surveying Engineers

Resource Specialists

  • Search and Rescue Dog Handlers
  • Land Surveyors
  • Wilderness Search Groups/Associations
  • Hazardous Waste Abatement Companies
  • Environmental & Remedial Contractors
  • Electric Equipment & Supply Distributors
  • Highway & Transportation Agencies
  • Heavy Equipment Operators
  • Crane & Rigging Operation Superintendents
  • Volunteer Service Organizations; for manpower support activities

The Community Resource Directory

The development of a preliminary listing of specific resource areas must be established under each of the appropriate functional categories that are applicable to the projected collapse-rescue potential within the jurisdiction. From this point the data collection process will involve identifying local, regional, statewide or other proximal contacts consisting of companies, firms, agencies or individuals who will ultimately provide the identified resource needs

The local telephone directory will provide the reference tool for the initial point of contact or a computer-based search utilizing the internet. Either through direct telephone inquiry, direct contact or byway of a letter of introduction, outlining potential resource requirements and needs, further discussions and negotiations can take place regarding specific resource needs or support services.

The data collection phase of the process will consume a substantial amount of man hours which is necessary to document and establish the scope and parameters by which those identified resources will be obtained, and the method(s) for compensation for those services.

Agreements and Contracts

Following this documentation process, the next phase in the community resource plan requires the initiation, preparation and adoption of appropriate types of agreements or contracts clearly defining the scope and conditions for the supply of services, equipment and/or supplies established by the CRP.

These agreements can take the form of the following:

  • Mutual Aid Agreements (MAA)
  • Service Agreements (SA)
  • Service Contracts (SC)
  • Service or Retainer Contracts (SR/SC)
  • Memorandums of Agreement (MOA)

These agreements should be reviewed and approved by the legal council having jurisdiction within the organization structure of the department to ensure that the agreement and its parameters are equitable, concise and that all liability issues have been addressed.

CRD Format & Access

The final phase involves establishing a workable format in which the data can be documented, retrieved and updated. The development of listings of functional, or specific category headings, charts or in combination with graphics will provide for a workable format. A variety of computer software programs are available that provide searchable databases for the retrieval of selected information. Considerations for searchable databases, either entry searches by tile or key work searchable databases will enable quick identification, access and retrieval of the data.

At such time that the resource data is compiled and documented, and all agreements are executed, the field operations format that the Community Resource Directory can take may vary greatly. Dependant upon the extent and complexity of the database, coupled with the selection of the most appropriate and efficient way to call-up information, local conditions and departmental parameters will guide this effort.

The use of simple word processing or desk-top publishing formats can produce simple, easily understood listing and indexes that can be reproduced and published in formats that include bound books, 3-ring binders or computer print-out editions. The use of an indexed 3-ring binder format with protective sheet covers for individual pages of laminated versions will allow for ease in updating, revising and field use. This simple format does not rely on battery power and electrical support services, when operating for extended operational periods or in remote locations during initial operations. This format has been a proven method for operations, based upon its simplicity, however the manual effort required to search through the database of forms and the degree in which revisions and updates must be managed may be considered somewhat antiquated in this high-tech age.

The advancements and cost effectiveness in PC laptop & notebook and Palm PC computer systems coupled with continued physical size reductions, mobility, ruggedness and increased battery life provide significant attributes for the CRD format and operating platform for hardware. The use of Compact disks [CDs] for the media further allows for substantial data to be downloaded onto the CD. Continuing advancements in Palm PC's and PDA's and memory capabilities and functions furthers additional cost effective options for informational storage and retrieval systems and hardware. This format is economical, as well as efficient, not only in data retrieval but also in data management and control. Mobility, size and interface capabilities with full size PC units further enhances PDA use and considerations.

One draw back to consider involves extended use of these smaller systems without the availability of a continuous power source, as the operational life of the battery packs may impede long- term field use without additional spare battery units.

Validation and Revisions

As with any resource or reference document, the Community Resource Directory and data base should be updated and revalidated on an annual basis as a minimum, so to ensure that individual contact names, phone numbers and conditions are valid and current.

In addition, it is important to identify and document any changes in the resource listing that may affect its usefulness within the database. It is not uncommon for products, services or materials to change or be withdrawn especially when dealing with equipment, supply or service companies. The mere fact that they could no longer be in business would have a detrimental effect on their non-deployment in the event their services are called-up at a future incident.

The applicability of the community resource plan (CRP) and the community resource directory (CRD) will prove its usefulness at numerous incident situations requiring the immediate deployment of specific or specialized resources for incident stabilization and mitigation.

The documents and the data contained within for the "yellow pages U for complex incident management and will provide for the timely identification, call-out and deployment of required resources based upon specific incident parameters.

In essence this system provides the framework built upon basic principles of preplanning management that provides additional tools" to enhance and expand the strategic and tactical options available to the incident management team in handling special operations, technical rescue and collapse rescue response operations.


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