Red Oak Fire Rescue personnel recently attended an urban search and rescue structural collapse technician course in College Station.

The Emergency Service Training Institute and the Texas Engineering Extension Service, which are federal task force training organization representatives, sponsored the course.

The course was funded by a Department of Homeland Security training grant, which was received by Red Oak Fire Rescue in 2006.

The course was held at “Disaster City,” a specially-designed, multi-million dollar drill field that comprises the worst case mock disasters imaginable.

The city, which was built to train and challenge the world’s U.S.A.R Task Force Rescue teams, has many challenging practical scenario-based props.

The scenarios are based upon natural and man made disaster possibilities such as but not limited to tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and acts of terrorism.

Multiple designs shapes and sizes of multi-story buildings, parking car garages, strip malls and underground tunnels that are imploded upon themselves with many tons of wood, metal and concrete are used to teach the rescue technician student how to size up and implement an appropriate and effective plan for rescue along with the removal of victims in a timely manner.

Topics that were covered in the SCT-2 course included:

Rescuer safety Structural engineering systems Building construction as related to disaster situations Rescue operations strategy and tactics Rescue operational procedures Rescue support operations Breaching and breaking operations with concrete and steel structures Lifting and moving operations Emergency building shoring

The completion of the course raises the urban search and rescue structural collapse technician staffing level to 12 certified technicians on Red Oak Fire Rescue staff.

“This course enhanced the abilities of the Red Oak Fire Rescue technical rescue team by improving our knowledge through classroom and practical scenario-based training in a live setting,” a spokesman said.

Multiple prerequisites must have been met prior to approval and acceptance into this course.

Certified in standard first aid Certified in American Heart Association cardiopulmonary resuscitation basic life support First responder awareness level for hazardous materials as per OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.120 Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Meet the competencies per NFPA 1006 Chapter 5 - job performance requirements Meet the competencies per NFPA 1006 Chapter 6 - rope rescue Meet the competencies per NFPA 1006 Chapter 9 - confined space rescue

The course is 80 hours in duration and covers most aspects of the urban search and rescue structural collapse rescue technician series. When finished, the rescuer will have met the requirements for the technician level 2 for the NFPA 1670 Standard. The student also will have met the NFPA 1006 Standard for rescue technician professional qualifications in the area of urban search and rescue structural collapse as well by completion of the course and written exam.

“The urban search and rescue structural collapse technician training has improved our knowledge base, enhanced our response capabilities and greatly increased our effectiveness for our surrounding communities and our partners that we have an inter-jurisdictional mutual aid agreement with,” the spokesman said.

The Ellis Dallas Unified Cooperative Team includes the Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Ferris, Glenn Heights, Lancaster, Midlothian, Ovilla and Waxahachie fire departments.

Attending the course from Red Oak Fire Rescue were Capts. Kyle Taylor and Les Thomas, and firefighters Jorge Guerrero, Holly Newman, Andy Trojacek, Jason Harris, Andrew Jakubik, Steve Moses, Brad Muirhead, Tanner Schlottman, Justin Slovak and David Petricca.