Technical Rescue Team


Founded in 1995, the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety Technical Rescue Team (TRT) helps to ensure the safety of the citizens, businesses, and visitors to York County. With capabilities that extend outside "the norm," technicians are available to safeguard victims and provide aid to unusual rescue situations beyond the capability of an average fire-rescue department response. This application of skills, knowledge, and equipment safely resolves unique and/or complex rescue situations. With the dedicated service of the Technical Rescue Team, the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety assures preparation for any life safety situation that may arise.


The YCFLS TRT has been operational for more than 15 years and is comprised of a select group of firefighters and firefighter-medics who are trained and certified to respond and provide technical knowledge, high-risk work duties and specialized equipment. The TRT team members are available 24 hours a day seven days a week and answer calls for assistance. Team members are committed to hard work and continuous training. Each team member is cross-trained to provide firefighting, emergency medical service, and rescue functions. In addition to these duties, members have extensive training in advanced rescue techniques. This intense training is performed for expansion of knowledge and preparedness to respond. When not responding to or training for technical/specialized rescue situations, the members of the TRT team staff an Advanced Life Support (ALS) equipped engine and an ALS ambulance and respond to standard fire and medical emergencies.

Supplied with a specially outfitted truck and trailer and other support vehicles and equipment, the Technical Rescue Team responds in extraordinary and/or highly dangerous rescue situations such as building collapses, confined-space entrapment's, high-angle rescues, and underwater dive-rescue situations. Prior to permanent assignment, team members complete several hundred hours of training and demonstrate proficiency in specialties such as trench rescue, confined space rescue, rope rescue, water rescue and motor vehicle extrications.

Rescue Efforts & Partners

The TRT team extends the capabilities of fire-rescue and medical response to confined space rescue, high angle rescue, trench/excavation rescue, under-water related emergencies, structural collapse/emergency shoring, heavy extrication, urban search and rescue, and damage reconnaissance. The team responds to mitigate both natural and man-made disasters on a local, regional, state and federal level.

The York County TRT is one of several regional partners that participate in the Peninsula Regional Technical Rescue Team and the Tidewater Regional Technical Rescue Team. These are programs designed to coordinate special response assets associated with technical rescue to the citizens of the Hampton Roads and Middle Peninsula Region. The YCFLS TRT is also involved with the National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Response System, established under the authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1989. This is a framework for structuring local emergency service personnel into integrated disaster response task forces.

FEMA US&R Virginia Task Force 2 is based out of Virginia Beach and has task force of 72-persons available for national missions at a moments notice. There are approximately 180 total members assigned on the task force. Task Force Specialists include firefighters and paramedics from Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Newport News, York County, James City County, Williamsburg, Norfolk and local military installations' Fire Departments. Civilians are also deployed that include highly trained emergency room physicians, canine handlers, structural engineers, communication experts and heavy equipment and rigging specialists.