Imagine walking in Edmonton’s River Valley when all of a sudden you slip down a steep embankment. You can’t climb back up and you can’t continue down the slope. What do you do? This may seem far fetched, but this is just one of the many emergency situations Edmonton Fire Rescue Services’ Technical Rescue Team responds to. This elite team is comprised of 96 individuals with five or more years of firefighting experience who complete quarterly training and learn rescue techniques to respond to complicated emergencies.
As one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, Edmonton is constantly developing. The continuous construction in the downtown core and the 140 km of embankment, shoreline and bridges in our River Valley could all be a threat to public safety under certain circumstances. To effectively respond to this, the Technical Rescue Team is consistently updating their training in order to meet the unique emergency situations that may occur in Edmonton.
“The safety of the public is our number one concern; our training modules allow us to practice a base set of skills we can utilize during a real response,” said Technical Rescue Coordinator Russell Kocuper. “The more we practice responding to these kinds of situations, the faster we will be able to reach someone during a real emergency.”
The training is broken up into eight modules that are completed throughout the year; lead climbing, embankment training, collapsed structure, confined space, trench rescue, picks, long lowers, and high lines. In order to make the situations as real as possible, the team performs the exercises across Edmonton including the High Level Bridge, the West Edmonton Mall roller coaster, the River Valley, and other locations citizens could potentially require assistance.
The Technical Rescue Team responded to 31 calls in 2015 with the majority being embankment or collapsed structure related.