Thursday, April 21, 2011

Heavy Rescue and Structural Collapse Training

Over the past few weeks, members of the Tacoma Fire Department Technical Rescue Team have attended a heavy rescue and structural collapse course funded by a federal grant through the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). The 80 hour course, hosted by the Seattle Fire Department, consists of 30 hours of pre-course work and 50 hours of hands on practical training. Firefighters from Bellevue, Renton, Tukwila, North Highline and Snohomish County fire departments participated.

The course is designed to help develop the skills necessary to rescue and care for patients in confined spaces and structural collapse situations (e.g. a bridge or building collapses after an earthquake). The team receives hands on training in crane operations, the use of metal cutting torches, breaching walls, cutting concrete with hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical tools, hand rigging and the carpentry skills necessary for creating wall supports critical in stabilizing scenes and rescuing victims. All of this training culminates in a mock disaster exercise with over 50 victims trapped in a wide array of difficult situations.