Fort Lauderdale (FL) Fire Rescue Technical Rescue Team Gets Structural Collapse Technician-Level Training

by Robert F. Bacic
Division Chief of Training, Fort Lauderdale (FL) Fire-Rescue

Fort Lauderdale (FL) Fire-Rescue recently put 30 members of their elite technical rescue team (TRT) through an 80-hour Structural Collapse Technician course. The course follows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 80-hour Structural Collapse Technician (SCT) curriculum. It was delivered to the TRT members by the Broward Fire Academy at their facility in Davie, Florida. The eight days of exercises, with 10 hours of training each day, were grueling but informative as the TRT members learned advanced techniques in dealing with structural collapse search and rescues.

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(1) Photos by Doug Eaton.

From heavy crane and rigging operations to use of torches to cut through debris, the training provided hands on learning that firefighters could use to aide them in finding and saving a life in the event of a building collapse.

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Members of the team, who work out of Fire Station 47 are trained to respond to rope rescue operations, vehicle and machinery rescue, trench rescue, confined space rescue, and emergency shoring and building collapse. Many of the team members have been deployed to disasters such as World Trade Center Collapse, Katrina, and more recently to the devastation left behind by earthquakes in Haiti. “With over 43,000 calls for service handled by the Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue department each year, this advanced training will add to the team’s existing capabilities to provide assistance locally and to our mutual aide partners in the event of a disastrous event” said John Molenda, Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue - Assistant Fire Chief of Operations. 

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The Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Technical Rescue Team was established in 1990. Over the years, the training required to be on the team has expanded along with the guidelines as outlined by the State of Florida and FEMA. This training is supported by advancements in technology and from first-hand experience in dealing with past disasters. Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue special operations capabilities to respond to incidents are greatly enhanced by this type of education.

Has your department undertaken any specialized training? Have you made expert use of department resources to bring your firefighters training in these difficult economic times? Tell us about it. Write up a short piece on the training and e-mail it to Peter Prochilo at peterp@pennwell.com for possible publication in our 'Training Profiles' department.

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