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The City of Carlsbad Fire Department has one of four certified Heavy Rescue Units in San Diego County, giving us the ability to respond to a variety of search and rescue incidents with the required equipment and trained personnel. These high-risk incidents include cliff rescues, complicated vehicle accidents, structural collapses, swift water rescues, entrapments by machinery or equipment and many other situations where there is a potential for injury or loss of life. Each of these incident types require specialized training that is well above standard firefighter training.

Some of the rescue types include:

Rope rescue

Ropes are used in a variety of operations, including hoisting, lowering, anchoring, and rigging. The Carlsbad Fire Department will utilize rope rescue techniques for cliff rescue, high-angle repelling, swift water and confined space rescues and other emergency incidents that require technical rescue.

Swift water rescue

Swift water rescue requires specially trained fire personnel who train annually in local jetties to better prepare for a swift water emergency. This training includes understanding and recognizing a swift water rescue incident, extracting a victim from the water and learning safe swimming techniques to navigate aquatic obstacles and hazards.

Confined space rescue

Confined space rescue involves the rescue and recovery of victims trapped in a confined space or in a place only accessible through confined spaces such as underground vaults, storage silos, storage tanks and sewers. Confined space rescues can be technically challenging due to the environment- spaces can be narrow and constricting, preventing easy access to rescuers. Additionally, confined spaces often contain hazardous materials in liquid or gas form that can be harmful or fatal to humans. These hazards create a limited window to perform a rescue.

Trench rescue

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines a trench as “a hole in the ground that is deeper than it is wide”. Trench rescue involves shoring up the sides of a trench and digging a trapped worker out of a collapsed ditch. Similar to a confined space entry, hazardous atmospheres and possible injuries while in a trench may require unique trench rescue techniques. Other hazards related to trenches include trench wall collapse and objects rolling or falling from above.

Additionally, the Carlsbad Fire Department has multiple personnel that are members of FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team based out of San Diego. This team, known as California Task Force 8, deploys to any major natural or man-made disasters such as 9/11, Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey and the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. Members deploy as part of a 70-person team that specialize in a variety of areas such as search, rescue, HazMat and medical.