Structural Collapse Rescue
Just over ten years ago, the newest discipline of technical rescue was beginning within Prince William County. The Department of Fire and Rescue began to train for Structural Collapse Rescue. This discipline is a low frequency / high risk event but when dispatched we need to ensure we can successfully begin a rescue. The discipline of Structural Building Collapse has its roots within the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search & Rescue Teams strategically placed throughout the Nation. Members of Prince William County Fire and Rescue have been trained and certified through these specialists over a 10 day school held in Virginia Beach or in other regional offerings.
The FEMA Structural Collapse Training Course teaches the fundamentals of engineering systems to gather and stabilize the weight of the structural components and contents to the terra firma. The discipline is similar to the others in which the laws of gravity will always prevail; it is through the systems we build we are capable of conducing of operations within a destroyed building safely. This type of emergency incident is not an everyday occurrence within the county. The most frequent collapse incident we respond to are where a vehicle has struck a building resulting in damage to the building.
DFR has prepared for this type of emergency not only with specialized training but by partnering with OWLVFD which maintains an extensive cache of equipment on Collapse 502 in Woodbridge. DFR is also beginning to purchase specialized equipment for training and use on the west end of the county. Personnel assigned to Rescues 504 and 510 as well as Towers 512, 513 and Truck 511 are responsible for structural collapse rescue operations and are sent to specialized training such as the Virginia Beach Structural Collapse Technician School.