Ft. Lauderdale Receives Rigorous Structural Collapse Training
By Chief Robert F. Bacic
The Ft. Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Technical Rescue Team recently completed an 80-hour structural collapse technician course that included exercises in shoring, concrete breaching and breaking, lift-outs and other technical rescue skills. All photos Doug Eaton
Team members make their way through tight areas to rescue victims trapped beneath the surface by breaching concrete, wood, rebar, drywall and other building material.
Team members cut through a concrete vault at a collapse simulation rubble pile.
The thirty members of the Technical Rescue Team who completed the course.
Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue (FLFR) recently put 30 members of their elite technical rescue team (TRT) through an 80-hour Structural Collapse Technician (SCT) course, which follows FEMA’s 80-hour SCT curriculum.
Delivered by the Broward Fire Academy at their facility in Davie, Fla., the eight 10-hour days of training exercises were both grueling and informative.
The FLFR TRT was established in 1990. Over the years, required training has expanded, along with the guidelines outlined by the State of Florida and FEMA, in response to technological advancements in the field and first-hand experiences with earlier disasters.
During the SCT course, TRT members learned advanced search and rescue techniques for use after a structural collapse. From heavy crane and rigging operations to the use of torches to cut through debris, the course provided hands-on training that firefighters can use to aide them in finding and saving a life in the event of a building collapse.
Members of the TRT, who work out of Fire Station 47, are trained on rope rescue, vehicle and machinery rescue, trench rescue, confined-space rescue and emergency shoring and building collapse. Many members have also been deployed to disasters, such as the World Trade Center collapse, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and more recently, to the devastation left behind by earthquakes in Haiti. “With more than 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. [As a result, they will be better prepared] to provide assistance locally and to our mutual aid partners in the event of a disastrous event,” says John Molenda, FLFR Assistant Chief of Operations.
Although the TRT is extensively trained in rescue ops, their special operations capabilities have been greatly enhanced by this type of education.
Robert F. Bacic is the Division Chief of Training for the Ft. Lauderdale Fire Department.
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