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Special Operations — Technical Rescue
Nine jurisdictions in Snohomish County have come together as partners to create a regional technical rescue response team to better serve our respective communities. The team is grateful to receive supplemental financial assistance from all of the other fire protection entities in Snohomish County who are known as affiliate agencies.
- Who are our member agencies:
- Snohomish County Fire District 1
- Snohomish County Fire District 7
- Arlington Fire Department
- Everett Fire Department
- Lake Stevens Fire
- Lynnwood Fire Department
- Marysville Fire District
- Mukilteo Fire Department
Why a multi-agency approach?
Special operations, such as a response to a technical rescue emergency requires specialized resources which are often too much for any one agency to handle alone. By combining these resources into a single service delivery team, duplication can be reduced while resources are pooled to provide the most seamless and efficient response possible.
About 120 experienced fire officers and firefighters serve on the team. These responders, from the nine member agencies, are initially trained as Technical Rescue Technicians and maintain certification in accordance with national consensus standards, and state and local regulations.
How the Team Operates
The Snohomish County Technical Rescue Response Team operates under a tiered response system.
When someone calls 911, we are ready to assist 24 hours a day - every day. Some complicated rescues may be beyond the scope of the local fire department. In such cases, technical assistance is provided by the Technical Rescue Team through one of the four response units.
For larger-scale emergencies, all four response units are dispatched and converge on the scene to make technical recommendations to the incident commander. The team is ready to assist with tasks associated with the following rescue disciplines: trench, rope, urban search & rescue (USAR), water/ice, and confined space. For long-term incidents, off-duty personnel may be called back to work during planned operational periods.
Response assets of the Snohomish County Technical Rescue Response Team have been greatly improved over the past several years. Currently, the team operates four technical response units located strategically in Snohomish County.
- The response units are:
- Technical Rescue - 1
— A technical rescue unit based in Everett
- Technical Rescue - 21
— A technical response unit based in Fire District 1
- Technical Rescue - 31
— A technical response unit based in Fire District 7
- Technical Rescue - 61
— A technical response unit based in Marysville
- Technical Rescue - 1
The team has assembled a vast array of technical equipment that provides the ability to perform rescue or body recovery operations. Some examples of specialized equipment includes: collapse shoring, respiratory protection for confined spaces, listening devices, search cameras, high-angle rescue ropes and hardware, pneumatic heavy lift bags, and cutting torches.
The Snohomish County Special Operations Policy Board sets the legal, financial and policy aspects of the team. The board is comprised of a senior chief officer from each member-agency.
Reporting to the board is the Technical Rescue Operations Committee. This committee is responsible for overseeing the operational readiness of the team. Two subcommittees, Training and Equipment, help assure technicians are trained and equipment is maintained in a state-of-readiness respectively.
The team is fortunate to be partnered with the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management (DEM). This agency has provided continual support by assisting with the development of guiding documents, securing grants for training and equipment, and providing administrative assistance.