Station 1 currently houses the only heavy rescue company in the City. It is designated Squad 1 and provides services and capabilities not typical to most fire apparatus. Unlike trucks that are equipped with ladders, forcible entry tools, and some extrication equipment; or engines that carry hose and various firefighting appliances; Squad 1 carries and employs an array of specialized rescue and heavy extrication equipment.
According to Captain Espinoza, Squad 1 is essentially a "big tool box" that, when combined with the skills of its crew members, provides unique capabilities related to specialty rescue. "The Squad," as it is know throughout the bureau, includes equipment for heavy extrication, rope rescue, structural collapse, trench and confined space rescue, and water and/or dive rescue. In addition to its specialty services, Squad 1 also responds on typical emergency calls such as structure fires and EMS incidents.
Squad 1's specialized services include:
- Heavy Extrication - includes rescuing patients from vehicles and machinery. This is accomplished using the Hurst Tool ("jaw of life"), cutting torches, specialized saws, and even air bags capable of lifting train cars.
- Rope Rescue - includes using specialized rope systems to rescue patients who have fallen down embankments, cliffs, or a ship's hull, or are trapped on the side of a structure. Firefighters rig rope systems and deploy firefighters in harnesses to reach and retrieve an individual.
- Trench and Confined Space Rescue - includes deploying special equipment to stabilize and otherwise make safe environments where there has been a trench collapse or it is necessary to rescue someone trapped in a narrow or constricting environment.
- Structural Collapse - includes building collapse or other events needing extensive and specialized heavy equipment for extrication. Squad 1 compliments the bureau's Urban Search and Rescue vehicle (USAR 1) when it is deployed to these types of events.
- Water Rescue - includes surface water rescue and dive operations. In addition to carrying divers, Squad 1 generally provides dive operations support and expertise to the Incident Commander.
It is important to note that Squad 1 and its crew are a part of the 12-member technical rescue team quartered at Station 1. While Squad 1 may operate independently on some smaller events, it is generally deployed with the entire team from Station 1. This includes Engine 1 and Truck 1, and may also include other specialized apparatus quartered at Station 1 such as the Dive Van, Trench Rescue Van or USAR 1. It is also important to note that all firefighters assigned to Station 1 hold technical rescue certifications that allow them to employ many of the specialized tools and equipment they carry, and to operate in certain hazardous environments.
Portland Fire & Rescue
We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
March 6, 2012