Removal from physical entrapment has been a function of fire departments since the fire service was founded. Innovation in the field of rescue has provided a multitude of techniques and advancements in equipment that have made the professional rescuer more efficient. The double-edged sword is that these same societal advances have increased the complexity of building materials and hazards. The comfortable furniture in our homes is manufactured with synthetic materials that are often derived from chemicals, increasing the speed at which fire spreads through a structure and decreasing the time available to rescue trapped occupants. The same Kevlar that goes into the making of ballistic vests to protect our military and law enforcement officials is sometimes used in building materials, which provide more protection from the effects of severe weather but also forms a barrier to forcible entry during an emergency.
In the 1990s the field of "technical rescue" became a specialty all its own. National standards makers further broke this down into the following sub-specialties:
- Vehicle and Machinery Rescue
- Confined Space Rescue
- Structural Collapse Rescue
- Trench Rescue
- Water Rescue
- Rope Rescue
- Wilderness Rescue
Our division provides basic rescue service via the combination Engine/Rescue 101. On a daily basis this apparatus and personnel responds to vehicle crashes, many at the 270 and Route 23 interchange. It is equipped with mechanical advantage devices such as hydraulic rescue tools, pushing and pulling gear, metal cutters, and air bags for lifting.
We also equipped with a boat, trailer, and complement of specialized water rescue equipment. The proximity to the swift water and low-head dams of the Olentangy River, plus the multiple retention ponds in the city and townships, have historically led to emergency incidents involving capsized watercraft and vehicles driving into the water.
For more complex or wide-ranging incidents, Worthington can call upon mutual-aid partners. We also have available the Central Ohio Strike Team (COST), one of four currently deployable regional technical rescue units in the state of Ohio, and Ohio Task Force 1, one of 28 federal urban search and rescue units across the United States. Several Worthington firefighters are members of one or more of these organizations, bringing an inherent advantage to our department via their advanced training and experience at larger-scale incidents of this type.