TECHNICAL RESCUE OPERATIONS

Technical Rescue Operations
The Technical Rescue Operations Unit provides extra internal resources to the Fire Department to help it respond to technical rescue operations, terrorism, and Weapons of Mass Destruction events.

On December 1, 2004, two Engine companies (Engine 47 and Engine 72) were converted and placed into service as Special Operations assets (Squad companies with significant capabilities in technical rescue and hazardous materials mitigation, in addition to their standard fire suppression capabilities).  These Companies will augment Rescue Company 1 and Hazardous Materials Task Force 1 in various technical operations.

Training
An intensive training curriculum that meets national consensus standards (NFPA Standards #1670 and #1006) and federal standards (Department of Homeland Security/ Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue National Response System Structural Collapse Technician) has been developed by the Special Operations Command.  The Technical Rescue School training curriculum encompasses all main disciplines of technical rescue operations (with significant emphasis on building collapse, high-angle rope rescue, confined space, water rescue, extrication, and specialized fireground operations, as well as terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction operations).  Students assigned to this school receive 240 hours of instruction.  100 additional Philadelphia Fire Department members are currently in the process of being trained and certified as Rescue Technicians.

Collaborative Efforts
The Technical Rescue Operations Unit has continued regularly scheduled interfacing with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies regarding Homeland Security intelligence. 

  • Five members of the Philadelphia Police Department Counter-Terrorism Unit are currently enrolled as students in the Philadelphia Fire Department Special Operations Command Technical Rescue School.
  • 35 members of the PFD/S.O.C. are currently assigned to Pennsylvania Task Force 1 of the DHS/FEMA Urban Search and Rescue National Response System.  This specialized Unit is one of 28 task forces across the country in the Federal Response Plan.  PA TF-1 is certified as a Weapons of Mass Destruction Task Force by DHS/FEMA.  One Officer currently assigned to the Special Operations Command is also assigned by DHS/FEMA as the Program Manager for PA-TF1.