The mission of the Rescue Team is to provide high quality technical rescue resources staffed with skilled and dedicated personnel that are available for immediate response. Additionally, team members provide district-wide rescue related training to non-team personnel. The team consists of approximately forty members. Many team members are also members of USAR Task Force 4 (CATF-4). CATF-4, based in Oakland, is one of several in California and is operated under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). CATF-4 is a federal team which responds to disasters on a national level.
The emergency response vehicle for the team, Urban Search and Rescue 134 (USAR134), is a Spartan/SVI Rescue Unit. The vehicle is equipped to handle a variety of incidents including confined space rescue, technically difficult auto extrication, swift water rescue, trench collapse rescue, structure collapse, and high and low angle rope rescue. USAR134 can also be called to a fire scene to act as the Rapid Intervention Crew (RIC). The primary role of the RIC is immediate rescue of down or trapped firefighters. The District also maintains a rescue equipment trailer for additional supplies such as trench rescue and shoring materials.
Rescue team personnel and USAR134 are certified to a State of California Office of Emergency Services (OES) Medium level. To achieve this rating, the team has demonstrated to OES that it has the training and the equipment required to operate safely and effectively at incidents involving the collapse or failure of reinforced and unreinforced masonry, concrete tilt-up and heavy timber construction. The certification and resource typing enables OES to utilize the team in the event of a major disaster outside of the District.
In addition to the specialized response capabilities of the team, every engine and truck in the District meets an OES Basic level. These vehicles are stocked with tools used to augment rescue operations including ropes, cribbing, air bags, and cutting and prying tools. With such a large variety of incidents and specialized equipment, training is a vital and constant necessity of the team. In addition to the type of incidents discussed above, team members are also trained to the Hazardous Materials Operational level and receive focused training in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
The team takes great pride in the services it provides and aggressively pursues a high level of training and experience opportunities. For more information, contact the Training Battalion Chief.