The District 7 Technical Rescue Team completed training on Friday May 24th after 2 months of training in various disciplines within technical rescue. District 7, made up of 25 cities and towns in Southern Worcester County, including Auburn, received a $250,000 grant from Homeland Security to complete the training sessions.

FF Jon Martin and FF Mike Hudon from Oxford Fire lower heavy timber into the trench. Submitted photo.

Technical Rescue, which involves emergency incidents in confined spaces, high angle, trench emergencies and structural collapse is a highly complicated and technical skill that involves intense training and a lot of equipment. The grant made it possible to send certain members from each department within the district to the training. The grant will also provide some much needed equipment that is lacking in some areas of the district.

Auburn Fire Chief Stephen M. Coleman Jr. who serves as the Chairman of Fire District 7 says that there has been a need for more technical rescue training and equipment in the district for many years, and he is happy that this grant was able to begin the process of addressing that need.

“Technical rescue is a high risk, low frequency event that, if not trained on frequently, they become perishable skills”, Coleman said.  “The act of crawling into a confined space, or jumping into a trench to make a rescue is dangerous enough.  If our members do not have the proper initial and continuous training or equipment the potential exists that we will not make the situation better. The public has an expectation, as they should, that fire and rescue services are arriving at emergency situation highly skilled to handle an emergency. If our members become trapped after an ill-attempted rescue because we are not proficient, we didn’t make the situation better, we made it worse.”

Even as this article was being prepared, the District 7 Technical Rescue Team was deployed to a submerged truck in a pond in Grafton.  As it turns out, the truck had been stolen, and no one was inside.  But responders never know exactly what to expect when they arrive on an emergency scene, and must always be prepared.

Chief Coleman said that the Technical Rescue Team is overseen by a committee made up of Chiefs in the district that are responsible for the oversight of equipment deployment and training. Chief Coleman says the district is moving in the right direction as far as their technical rescue capabilities including underwater rescue and recovery.

FF Jon Martin of the AFRD (L) and FF Mike Bjorn of the Charlton Fire Department. Submitted photo.

The members of the Auburn Fire Rescue Department who serve on the Technical Rescue Team are Firefighter/Paramedic Jon Martin who also serves as the Training Coordinator for the team, Lieutenant Justin Brigham who is a Team Leader, Firefighter/Paramedic Adam Rivers, Firefighter/Paramedic Ovi Ticlea and Firefighter/EMT Kim O’Brien.