The main disciplines of technical rescue include rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue, and structural collapse rescue.


Sometimes victims become trapped or injured above or below grade and are in areas only accessible with ropes and rope systems.  A hiker falling from a rock ledge is a common cause.  Access and/or removal of the victim accomplished with ropes by repelling or being lowered by ropes to the victim.  Specialized training is required to appropriately treat and package the patient for removal.  Many times removal of the victim is also accomplished by lowering or raising with ropes.


OSHA defines a confined space as a space that is large enough and so configured that a person can enter to perform assigned work, has limited means for entry or exit, and that is not designed for continuous human occupancy.  Examples include tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, and pits.  Working in these environments is sometimes necessary, but always includes hazards that can be atmospheric (oxygen deficiency, toxic or flammable atmosphere), physical (engulfment or unstable debris) or environmental (temperature extremes, darkness, dust, etc.).  Workers can also become ill or injured through normal causes and require assistance getting out of the space.


A trench is an excavation of earth that is by definition (1) deeper than it is wide, and (2) less than 15 feet wide.  Many trenches are dug each year in the City of Barberton, and unfortunately in the U.S. between 100 and 200 people die, and nearly 3,000 are injured in excavation emergencies annually.  Although the collapse of the dirt walls onto someone in a trench is the most common type of excavation emergency, other trench-related problems include medical emergencies of workers in trenches (such as heart attacks and strokes) and equipment problems such as the failure of ropes, shoring equipment, and ladders.  Due to the extreme hazard involved in working in this environment, each of these situations requires special removal techniques and equipment.


This area of technical rescue involves the access, treatment, and removal of victims of building collapse.  Explosions, natural disasters, and terrorist actions are only a few of the possible causes of the collapse. The structure or building will usually require shoring or supplemental support systems that prevent or limit further collapse.  Specialized search cameras and trained rescue technicians search void spaces with the collapse area to locate victims and then teams of rescue personnel work to uncover or access, treat and remove the victim.