The Gulfport Fire Department (GFD) provides many technical rescue services. These technical rescue services are completed by firefighters with specialized training and certifications in these specific rescue disciples. Many hours of continuing education and refresher classes are necessary to keep up their technical skills. GFD also houses specialized equipment to conduct these technical rescue operations Most of the training and equipment are provided by the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security (MOHS).
The Gulfport Fire Department is a major contributor to the Mississippi Task Force which is an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team that provides these same rescue service throughout the state and country. See more about theses Task Forces at www.mohstraining.com
The service we provide to our citizens and visitors of Gulfport are:
Search and Rescue
Search operations are broken into 2 modalities: Physical and Technical. In each of these modes we will start with detection (determining that a victim exists) then move into the location (pinpointing the victim’s most probable location). Since Search is the first mode of any Search and Rescue Operation, we get in early and stay till the operation is completed. Often as a Rescue Operation progresses, Search will continue to help pinpoint the victim’s location.
Our Search Team members are Nationally Certified by the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR).
Search Team members need to be proficient in mapping work, GPS operations, and all the technical search tools.
Training for Search Team members is ever changing to keep up with the new technical devices constantly being developed.
Advanced Rope Rescue
GFD has the equipment and training to perform advanced techniques of rope rescue in a vertical environment whether in the wilderness or urban setting. Examples of skills that GFD can perform are basic and advanced rappelling; rope ascending; patient packaging and lifting; mechanical advantage systems; rope pick off’s and belaying, high line systems as well as many other advanced level techniques.
Swiftwater and Flood Rescue
GFD has two Swiftwater rescue boats. One is staged in the northern part of the city, and the other is staged in the southern part of the city. Both rescue boats are outfitted with all the gear necessary to conduct Swiftwater and Flood rescue operations. Our Swiftwater rescuers are trained in animal rescue, helicopter operations, advanced life support (Paramedic), dive rescue, and technical rope system skills. Sustaining this discipline requires three subcomponents: Personnel, Training and Assets/Equipment.
In addition to the eight hours of Water Rescue Awareness training, our members also completed forty hours of Swiftwater Technician training. But before being considered for this course, one must be a rope rescue technician and a proficient swimmer as outlined by the Association of Dive Rescue Watermanship skills test. Our geographic location affords us proficient swimmers and SCUBA divers, but many of our members are further trained to the level of Public Safety Divers. The combination of both surface and sub-surface abilities enables us to more efficiently search, find and rescue trapped victims in a waterborne emergency.
Confined Space Rescue
The GFD Confined Space Rescue Technicians (CSRT) have received extensive training in Confined Space Rescue. While confined space rescues are rare, they are some of the most deadly rescue operations that the Gulfport Fire Department will encounter. All of our CSRT’s are certified in a 40 hour Confined Space Rescue certification class and require yearly refresher classes. Some of the services we do during a trench rescue are: air monitoring and movement, horizontal rope retrieval systems, supplied air respirators and advanced patient packaging, and advanced life support.
Trench rescue is a specialized form of rescue, a subset of confined space rescue. Trench rescue involves shoring up the sides of a trench, and digging a trapped worker out of a collapsed ditch. Trench rescue is one of the most dangerous rescue operations to complete. Trench collapses generally occur due to unstable soil conditions combined with improper or inadequate shoring. The Gulfport Fire Department maintains a full complement of hydraulic rescue tools, lift bags, trench panels, and pneumatic “struts” to help enter and stabilize trench collapses. All of our rescue technicians are certified in a 40 hour Trench Rescue certification class and require yearly refresher classes.
Structural Collapse Rescue (SCR) is defined as the mobilization of resources required to safely and expeditiously locate and remove trapped and often injured victims from partly or fully collapsed structures or environments and the provision of emergency care in doing so. Collapse situations can occur as the result of fire, accidents, severe weather, poor building construction or terrorist activity. Structural collapse operations are often extremely dangerous and requires special training and equipment. The Gulfport Fire Department Structural Collapse Technicians have advanced training in entering collapsed structures and placing support systems to stabilize the building, collapse and void search and rescue, concrete breaking and breaching and heavy rescue rigging and lifting. 40 hour Trench Rescue certification class and require yearly refresher classes. They have to complete a 48 hour Structural Collapse Rescue certification course and require annual refresher classes.
The GFD has the essential equipment to start a SCR such as hydraulic rescue tools, lift bags, and pneumatic “struts” and highly trained rescue technicians. Because of the complexity of this type of rescue, we will call in other Task Force resources from the Mississippi Task Forces.