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Urban Search and Rescue Team


Emergencies that require specialized technical rescue personnel, skills, and equipment can occur at any time. When they strike the City of Stockton, the Fire Department is the first to be called. For this reason, the Stockton Fire Department (SFD) developed an Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Team. Whether it's a building collapse trapping hundreds of people, a child that has fallen into a deep vertical shaft, or a window washer trapped on a high-rise building, we provide the knowledge and resources to safely and effectively implement technical rescue services.

 Confined Space 1


The concept for a standardized US&R program was developed following the 1985 earthquakes in Mexico City. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Emergency Management Agency (CALEMA) realized the possibility for the same type of catastrophe happening in the United States. FEMA identified areas of the Mexico City incident that could be improved and developed a concept of trained teams, strategically located around the Nation, and equipped for immediate response to similar incidents. CALEMA became the coordinating agency for teams in the State of California.


The SFD acknowledged the potential for like incidents within its own jurisdiction and sent five of its members through the California State Fire Marshal Heavy Rescue pilot program at Port Hueneme in 1986.


By 1989, our Fire Chief designated Company 3 Map as the SFD's US&R Team. At that time, the equipment requirements for US&R were minimal by today's standards and consisted of 20 carabiners, 2 eight-plates, 3 rescue ropes, a few lengths of nylon webbing, and a couple of mechanical ascenders.

 Trench Rescue 1

Since 1989, the requirements for US&R equipment and training have grown exponentially, as has the SFD US&R Team. CALEMA now types local agency resources as Type 1 (Heavy), Type 2 (Medium), Type 3 (Light), and Type 4 (Basic), based on standardized equipment lists, training levels, and operational capability. The information below defines CalEMA resource typing for US&R.


OES Urban Search and Rescue Resource Types

(Reference- FIRESCOPE Operational System Description ICS 420-1, 06/04)

  • Type 1 (Heavy)- Heavy Floor Construction, Pre-Cast Concrete Construction, Steel Frame Construction, High Angle Rope Rescue (including highline systems), Confined Space Rescue (permit required), and Mass Transportation Rescue.
  • Type 2 (Medium)- Heavy Wall Construction, High-Angle Rope Rescue (not including highline systems), Confined Space Rescue (no permit required), and Trench and Excavation Rescue.
  • Type 3 (Light)- Light Frame Construction and Low-Angle Rope Rescue.
  • Type 4 (Basic)- Surface Rescue and Non-Structural Entrapment in Non-Collapsed Structures.

The SFD's US&R Team resources consist of one Type 1 (Heavy) Truck company and two Type 3 (Light) Truck Companies.

 Rescue Team

The Stockton Fire Department's US&R Team provides comprehensive, specialized rescue services including High-Angle Rope, Confined Space, Trench Rescue, Structural Collapse, and Mass-Transportation Rescue. We operate at the CALEMA Type 1 (Heavy) level.



The SFD operates a State Fire Marshal certified training site. We provide regularly-scheduled Low-Angle Rope Rescue Operational (LARRO), Rescue Systems I, Rescue Systems 2, Trench Rescue, and Confined-Space Rescue Technician courses. This allows us to offer California State Fire Marshal certified classes to our members, personnel from outside agencies and private industry.


The Stockton Fire Department US&R Team constructed a training facility by utilizing donated materials and grant funding at a minimal cost to the City of Stockton. The training site, located at Company 2 Map, includes an intricate underground pipe maze, above and below ground vertical shafts, storage tanks, and a two-story, multi-functional collapse structure. Additionally, we have constructed a rubble pile that replicates conditions encountered by rescue teams at large structural collapse events. High-Angle Rescue training is conducted in the SFD training tower and at off-site locations.


About UsRescue 3

The US&R program is quartered at Company 2, the department's main station. The Company consists of Engine 2, Truck 2, and Rescue 2. We maintain a roster of more than fifty personnel trained to the CALEMA Type 1 (Heavy) Level.


In 2010, we deployed a full-size Pierce Rescue vehicle into service. This vehicle was purchased through a public-private partnership using United States Department of Homeland Security, Assistance to Firefighters Grant funds paired with funds donated by Food-4-Less, a local grocery retailer.


The Stockton Fire Department US&R Team operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, with 3 shifts of 7 personnel. Of the 7 personnel assigned, a minimum of 6 personnel, per shift, are trained to the CALEMA Type 1 (Heavy) level. The US&R Team has a minimum of two paramedics on duty per day. Many of our members are cross-trained in Water Rescue and Hazardous Materials response, exceeding the minimum standards set by FEMA and CALEMA.


For additional information, please contact the Stockton Fire Department US&R Team


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This City of Stockton web page last reviewed on --- 1/21/2014