Twelve members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s (LACoFD) Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team recently completed specialized training at the Del Valle Training Center in Castaic. The training qualified them to become USAR Heavy Rescue Technicians.
The one-week training is rigorous and designed for operators to master specific rescue and recovery skills. Using the Heavy Rescue 103, a 65-ton composite sliding rotator, firefighters focused on identifying hazards. They practiced scenarios based on actual Department incidents (i.e., significant extrications of large semi-vehicles and trucks), structure collapse operations, lifting submerged vehicles to search for victims, trench rescues, confined space extrication, and other special emergencies.
Captain Quintin Humphrey is the lead trainer and has been a member of the USAR team for the past 11 years. “Heavy Rescue 103 carries numerous rigging components to safely lift or pull to facilitate access for rescue or recovery,” said Captain Humphrey. “All these systems are incorporated into the fundamental apparatus design and allow the L.A. County Fire Department to provide enhanced emergency service to the citizens of Los Angeles County.”
Heavy Rescue 103 supplements resources to assist firefighters on scene, and the new vehicle has been in service for the past three years. “There are only three other fire departments in the United States that staff a heavy rescue daily – Los Angeles City Fire Department, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department,” added Captain Humphrey.