Technical Rescue Field Operations Guide
Challenges of Technical Rescue
The Essential Technical Rescue Field Operations Guide is an AWARD WINNING state of the art Rescue Guide.
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What is Technical Rescue? About two decades ago, the fire service defined technical rescue into a number of specialty disciplines. Rope rescue, confined space rescue, structural collapse, trench rescue and water rescue (there are 13 subcategories today). We look at these areas of technical rescue as “high risk – low frequency” and by its very nature, technical rescue requires standardization, procedure and lots of training.
The first category of technical rescue is rope rescue. Rope rescue is the nucleus or core discipline because as rescuers, we use ropes and rope rescue concepts for protection, access and retrieval in nearly every other discipline of technical rescue.
Another category of technical rescue is confined space rescue. Confined space rescue is often viewed as a hazardous materials call with the physical rescue component. The primary hazards for confined space are; atmospheric hazards, configuration hazards, engulfment hazards and any other known hazard.Trench rescue is sometimes considered synonymous with confined space rescue but most people agree that it is its own discipline. Trench rescue is another category of rescue where high percentage of fatalities were would be rescuers. Much education has been done to make firefighters aware of the hazards of trench rescue.
The next area of technical rescue is water rescue. When someone mentions water rescue, I think of swift water rescue but that category also includes surf rescue and surface ice rescue. Swift water rescue is certainly one of the most demanding areas of technical rescue. The core element of water rescue is the use of essential personal protective equipment and the ability to swim effectively in the type of conditions that you will encounter in your jurisdictional hazards.
Structural collapse rescue is a broad specialty area of technical rescue that includes building triage, victim search, temporary emergency shoring, concrete breaking and breaching and victim retrieval. The United States has developed an urban search and rescue program made up of 28 teams in strategic locations across the country. Each team (referred to as a FEMA USAR task force) is self-sufficient for 72 hours and can operate effectively in all types of disaster zones. USAR teams are structural collapse and technical rescue specialists.
It’s important to note that a structural collapse rescue can have shoring components, confined space rescue components, rope rescue components, water rescue components and trench rescue components. So of course the structural collapse rescue technician must also possess many other rescue technician skills.
So in closing, technical rescue is a very broad and complex group of specialties. Rope rescue is common to all technical rescue areas and a person must qualify in rope rescue as a prerequisite for any other specialty. Once rope rescue is completed, a person may only choose one additional specialty like Swift water rescue for example or they may choose to qualify in all areas of technical rescue.