Technical Rescue Team
The Normal Fire Department has the MABAS Division 41 Technical Rescue Team (TRT). Technical Rescue response can include confined space incidents, trench or excavation collapses, high- or low-angle rope rescues, structural collapses, or transportation or industrial accidents involving heavy vehicles or equipment beyond the scope of a typical fire company's capabilities.
As these incidents are often of long duration and are extremely manpower-intensive, it is imperative to have a pool of trained personnel ready to respond to incidents anywhere in the region. In addition, large-scale incidents from tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, winter storms, explosions, terrorism and so on can require the use of numerous teams to respond. Through MABAS, assets from throughout the state can respond to support a stricken region with trained and equipped personnel. To ensure that all teams in the state can function at appropriate levels, each recognized team goes through a validation at the Illinois Fire Service Institute, working with several other teams in demonstrating various skills in a continuous 36-hour operation.
Each member has received extensive training in the various disciplines of technical rescue. Members are expected to attain both Operations and Technician level certifications through the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal in Rope Operations, Vertical Rescue and Rope Technician, Confined Space Rescue Operations and Technician, Trench Operations and Technician, Vehicle & Machinery Operations and Technician, and Structural Collapse Operations and Technician. Most certification courses are 40 hours in duration and require ongoing updates and continuing education.
The team has responded to incidents in Normal, Bloomington, Heyworth, Ellsworth, Utica and Roanoke. There are approximately 25 Normal firefighters that have attended hundreds of hours of specialized training to become members of this team and must be ready to deploy statewide on a couple of hours notice.