On cool, clear, sunny autumn day in October 2015, the Southeast Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team drilled on props set up in a training yard off Caleb Road in Plymouth on essential skills required to rescue victims trapped under rubble or in collapsed structures that might be found following a large scale disaster such as an earthquake, tornado or major hurricane. Throughout the day, squads rotated through four stations, spending nearly two hours at each lifting and moving heavy objects, breaching concrete, shoring unstable walls and cutting through metal plates with torches. The team is comprised of firefighters from Barnstable, Plymouth, Norfolk, Dukes, and Bristol counties.
Shoring involves developing rescue technician's abilities to stabilize walls, floors and void spaces in order to prevent further collapse and allow rescuers to locate, reach and remove trapped victims. This may involve the use of lumber and/or long adjustable aluminum struts.
The team becomes familiar with cutting heavy metal plates using industrial-grade torches.
It is essential that team members become proficient at lifting and moving large heavy objects such as concrete slabs in order free trapped victims. This can be a long and delicate process involving rigging techniques and the use of both heavy equipment and hand tools.
Breaking and breaching concrete can be a protracted and arduous task, demanding that rescuers be able to perform difficult physical maneuvers using industrial tools in extremely cramped spaces, all the while assessing dynamic environments and making complex decisions with severe time constraints.
In addition to operating in and around collapsed structures, members of the Southeast Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team are also trained and equipped for confined space, high angle, trench and dive operations as well. Future disciples the team will be qualified on include swift water rescue and wide area search also.