The Technical Rescue Team (TRT) is responsible for responding to all technical rescue calls in the City of Tucson and surrounding areas. The team is highly trained in a wide variety of disciplines and can perform rescues in some of the most dangerous and complex situations imaginable. Even though the team is broadly trained for many possibilities, the main areas of focus are broken down into the following groups:
- Trench Rescue
- Swift Water Rescue
- Technical Rope Rescue
- Confined Space Rescue
- Structural Collapse Rescue
- Tree Rescue
- Extrication of victims from automobiles, aircraft, trains, buses, etc.
The Technical Rescue Team was formed back in 1986. With minimal cost to Tucson, Station 10 crews converted an old beer delivery truck into a heavy rescue vehicle and began some specialty training. Since then the team has developed into a highly trained and proficient team and is now located at Station 4. There are 33 full time members across all three shifts who are continually training to keep Tucson safe in the direst of circumstances.
The TRT was housed at Station 10 for 21 years. Over that period the team grew in both members, scope and equipment. By the early 2000’s the team had more than outgrown the capacity of Station 10. So, when a new station was being planned, it was decided to move the team to this new larger facility. This resulted in the team moving to Station 22 in the fall of 2007.
The amount of training the Technical Rescue Team is involved in is quite impressive. First and foremost, the TRT stays prepared through continual weekly training. Along with these core team drills, the team also stays proficient by training the rest of the department on vital skills that will prepare them in the event they arrive on scene before the TRT. Furthermore, the team participates in drills with other local agencies and their technical rescue teams. This is valuable for sharing techniques across departments and building rapport in the event of a regional emergency. Dedication and enthusiasm for the disciplines keep the team members engaged through all this additional training while still performing the duties of a regular fire station.
- Trained and certified 40 new rescue technicians
- Trained multiple crews on swift water rescue procedures
- Trained entire department on suppression level palm tree rescue
- Added palm tree rescue
- Added tower rescue
- Added mine shaft rescue
In 2007, a handful of Pima County agencies began discussing a unified technical rescue training and response program. It wasn't until 2015 that this collaboration gained traction, and the Southern Arizona Regional Technical Rescue Group (SARTRG) was formed. Today, the Tucson Fire department actively participates in the SARTRG and has worked for the past five years to help develop equipment, training, and response capabilities.
The mission of the Group is to provide initial and ongoing technical rescue training and mutual aid response to agencies within the four southern counties of Arizona. Through cooperation, collaboration, and ongoing training, the SARTRG strives to provide professional response and mitigation of both human-made and natural disasters within the region. To help fulfill this mission the SARTRG recently led agencies from Cochise and Pima county in the first regional technical rescue academy. The SARTRG consists of the following agencies and departments:
Avra Valley Fire, Corona Fire, Douglas Fire, Drexel Heights Fire, Fry Fire, Golder Ranch Fire, Green Valley Fire, Mt. Lemmon Fire, Nogales Fire, Northwest Fire, Pascua Fire, Pima County EM, PCSO, Rural Metro Fire, Rincon Fire, Rio Rico Fire, SARA,