West Pierce Fire & Rescue Technical Rescue Program

West Pierce Fire & Rescue (WPFR) never knows what emergencies firefighters will be called to, so they have to be prepared for anything. Did you know 23 WPFR firefighters are trained as rescue technicians and at least two are on duty every day? These firefighters are specially trained on a variety of different skills, which include:

  • Structural collapse, such as a vehicle that drives into a building or a more significant incident like an earthquake causing an entire building to collapse.
  • Trench rescue, such as someone being buried under debris when a large hole is being dug during a large construction project.
  • Confined space rescue, such as is someone stuck in a pipeline, well or other small space.
  • High and low angle rescue, such as a hiker who has fallen into a ravine or someone stuck high in a tree or building.
  • Heavy vehicle machinery and extrication, such as a semi-truck strikes an overpass, trapping the driver inside the vehicle.

WPFR trains regularly for these types of calls, as each incident can include a variety of complexities. On average, WPFR responds to 56 rescue calls per year. These incidents can be very high risk to both the victims and firefighters, so this specialized training is incredibly important.

In the past few months alone, WPFR responded to two major incidents where rescue technicians were needed. The first was a semi-truck striking an overpass, trapping the driver inside. The second was a car that hit a building at a high rate of speed, affecting the building’s structural integrity. Thankfully WPFR firefighters were ready to respond and mitigated these situations with no injuries to either driver or firefighters.

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