Technical Rescue Team

The forty person Technical Rescue Team (TRT) is trained and ready to respond to most types of rescues including over-the-edge rope rescues, urban searches and rescues, building collapses, confined space rescues and water rescues. A part of the TRT is the Drowning Accident Team (DART) which is a county-wide, multi-organizational group of 35 members who are trained to rescue Scuba diving standards. TRT members are trained to state-certified levels and complete critically important courses such as Rescue Systems 1, Swiftwater Rescue Technician I and II, Confined Space Operations, and incident command system (ICS) courses. The TRT has 8 team leaders who supervise rescue crews (team leader plus five technical rescuers) or a rescue company (rescue crew plus a fully equipped rescue vehicle). The TRT has an MOU with the Butte County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Unit (BCSAR) and responds concurrently with the BCSAR Unit on all rescues and, when requested, on searches. Twelve of the TRT members are trained to the CAL FIRE helicopter short-haul rescue standard which is a great means of reaching extremely stranded victims. The short-haul course is two weeks long, rigorous, and demanding due to the risk involved in slinging a firefighter under the copter to access a victim and then move the victim a short distance to other attending rescuers. 

The TRT operates under standards created by the Butte County Fire Chiefs' Technical Rescue Management Group. The Group meets bi-monthly and has developed training, experience, and equipment standards which are used by all fire departments in Butte County and the BCSAR. The Chiefs sponsor quarterly, multi-agency training drills that test rescue team members proficiency and readiness to face the worst of circumstances with trapped victims. Often drills have over twenty victims that are entrapped in very difficult places. TRT members must plan, organize and execute the rescue always keeping safety of the rescuer, the rescue team, and the public as the top priorities. 

When activated for most types of technical rescues, supervisors plan their activities using the acronym LAST (locate the victim, access the victim, stabilize the victim and transport the victim) as the sequential order of accomplishing rescue work. Rescues are often organized using the standard ICS groups of search, rescue, medical, and technical (building engineers, hazmat technicians, and specialists, communication technical specialists, et al). The Butte County Fire Department has two fully equipped Type 2 rescue vehicles, two Type 3 and fourteen Type 4 fully equipped rescue units. The TRT also has two personal watercraft (PWC) on loan from the Kawasaki Corporation. The PWC are used for river rescues. 

Most TRT emergency responses are for over-the-edge or water rescues. The TRT will respond to about 70 to 90 emergencies per year. Many TRT members are instructors for most of the technical rescue training courses. Two of the TRT team leaders are major players in the most rewriting of the State Fire Marshal certified Rescue Systems I course.