COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) has launched a new US&R Rescue Specialist Certificate Program, which recognizes members of urban search and rescue (US&R) teams who have completed advanced training. Eligible candidates must complete more than 300 hours of rigorous, advanced training in structural collapse rescue operations and other specialized search and rescue training.
Twenty-one people qualified for the new certificate following the recent Advanced Structural Collapse 5 course. Those earning the professional recognition included responders from New Jersey, Texas, Ohio, Iowa and Canada. An additional 16 people from across the nation have completed the training required to earn the certificate.
“This is the only certificate of its kind for advanced urban search and rescue training, and very few people nationwide qualify at this point,” said Brian Smith with TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute, who coordinates the program.
To receive the certificate, individuals must complete 80 hours of training in structural collapse, 50 hours in rope rescue, 50 hours in advanced exterior shoring, 50 hours in advanced interior shoring, and 50 hours in advanced breaching and breaking operations. In addition, they can choose one or more electives, which include passenger rail rescue, disaster logistics specialist, swiftwater rescue, wide area search, disaster canine search specialist and more. At least three of the classes must be completed at TEEX.
“While other firefighters may qualify if they complete all of the courses, the main focus is on members of the national or state US&R task forces, as well as specialized police or CBRNE response teams,” said Smith. “We expect interest will grow in this certificate program and in our advanced structural collapse courses, which we have offered since 2006. Multiple task forces have already shown a keen interest in the new certificate program.”