bethesda chevy chase rescue squad



Amkus Hydraulic Rescue System

A core responsibility of the rescue squad is to remove entrapped victims from motor vehicle collisions. The rescue squad uses the Amkus Ultimate hydraulic rescue system. The system allows for the simultaneous operation of up to six hydraulic rescue tools. The rescue squad uses two spreaders (sometimes called the “jaws of life”) and four cutters. Hydraulic rams can also be incorporated into the system. This state of the art technology provides rapid removal of metal from entrapped passengers and decreases overall transport time to the hospital.


Paratech Stabilization System

The rescue squad uses the Paratech Stabilization System to secure unstable objects. Before victims can be removed from unsafe areas, the rescue squad must ensure that the victim’s egress is protected and safe. The system is most frequently used on overturned vehicles. The Paratech System uses adjustable cylinder struts which attach to metal base plates. This is the strongest system on the market and also one of the fastest systems to deploy and to erect.


Wood Cribbing

Cribbing is soft wood cut into multiple shapes and lengths and is used to fill voids between stable ground and an object. The rescue squad will use wood cribbing in conjunction with the Paratech Stabilization System to secure unstable objects and create a safe egress for victims. The rescue squad carries over 250 pieces of wood cribbing.



The rescue squad uses several different electric generators to provide remote electrical power. The power is used to operate on board motors, lighting, power tools, and power equipment. The rescue squad uses a combination of diesel generators, power take off (PTO) generators, hydraulic generators, and portable gas generators. The rescue squad also has electric power reels which can provide power up to 300 feet from the rescue squad.


Lifting Air Bags

The rescue squad uses rescue air bags to lift objects. The air bags are filled with compressed air and can lift objects over 70 tons. The bags are less than an inch thick when not inflated and can be placed in confined areas. Rescue air bags have been used to lift Metro rail cars, concrete jersey walls, structural steel columns, and overturned tractor trailers. The rescue squad carries high pressure and medium pressure air bag systems.


Compressed Air Cart

The rescue squad uses a Compressed Air Cart to provide continuous air supply for air bags, rescue air tools, and remote breathing air for rescuers. The air cart provides eight supply air outlets that can be regulated to provide proper working air pressure. The compressed air is taken from the same air cylinders used for firefighting.



The rescue squad uses an assortment of rigging equipment to secure objects. Metal chains, hooks, and shackles are used to pull objects. Fabric ratchet straps and cargo straps are used to secure objects and create anchors.



The rescue squad has three winches that are used to pull and remove objects in order to gain access to victims. The rescue squad has a large 20,000lbs winch attached to the rear of the rescue squad. There is also a front bumper winch capable of pulling 12,000lbs and a portable side winch with a 6,000lb capacity. Having multiple winches allows the rescue squad to utilize the tools in limited-access scenarios.


Mechanic Tools

The rescue squad has a large supply of typical mechanics tools. Mechanics tools can be used in a range of different applications. The following tools are carried on the rescue squad: carpenter saw, electric drill, rotary hammer, air chisel, air ratchet, hydraulic bottle jacks, hand saws, screw drivers, wrenches, and socket sets. The rescue squad must be ready to handle any emergency and must have all the tools necessary to support the operation.


Water Rescue Equipment

The rescue squad is responsible for the rescue of civilians during flood conditions. The rescue squad carries an assortment of water rescue equipment including a line gun that discharges a tether line up to 300 feet. The rescue squad will use the water rescue equipment in conjunction with the rope rescue equipment to evacuate victims from stranded cars and houses. The rescue squad also supports the river rescue teams on the Potomac River.


Rope Rescue Equipment

The rescue squad carries a large cache of rope rescue equipment. The rescue squad can evacuate victims from steep terrains such as highway embankments. The rope rescue equipment can also be used to rescue victims from vertical environments such as a window washer trapped on the side of a high rise or a crane operator in the control bucket.


Mobile Data Computers

The use of technology is critical in the rescue environment. The rescue squad contains a mobile data computer that provides dispatch information and incident reports for interagency coordination. The mobile data computer also provides mapping software to provide responders with accurate scene location and conditions.


Radio Communication

The rescue squad has an 800 MHz mobile radio that is used to communicate with the Montgomery County Communication center. The rescue squad also has a 400 MHz mobile radio that provides communication with the station dispatcher. Personnel on the rescue squad can communicate with each other using the headset intercom system. When operating on the scene, personnel use an 800 MHz portable radio.


Breathing Apparatus

The rescue squad has Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for every riding position. The SCBAs are mounted next to each seat for quick deployment. Personnel on the rescue squad are trained fire fighters and they respond to structure fires as the search and rescue team. SCBAs supply clean air to a breathing regulator and mask. The SCBA allows personnel to enter toxic environments.


Thermal Imaging Camera

The rescue squad has Thermal Imaging Cameras which are used to search for victims in a fire. The cameras may also be used to find fire hidden behind walls and in ceilings. Thermal imaging technology has been a part of the fire service for over 20 years. The BCC Rescue Squad was the first department in the country to save a fire victim using the assistance of a camera.



The rescue squad has an assortment of ground ladders. These ladders are readily deployable from the back of the rescue squad. Ground ladders are used to rescue victims from a fire if they have no means of escaping from the inside.



The rescue squad has an assortment of power saws. Saws are used as a means of gaining access to victims. Chain saws are used to remove downed trees off of structures and vehicles. Metal cutting circular saws are used to cut locks, security bars, garage doors, and fences. Wood circular saws are used to open up walls and roofs during ventilation procedures at structure fires.


Air Monitoring

The rescue squad has multiple air monitoring meters. These meters are used to detect the presence of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide. Air monitors can also track the presence of combustible gases and can assist with finding the source.



The rescue squad operates at all hours. Night operations demand scene lighting to perform the rescue squad’s complex tasks. The rescue squad has high output scene lights mounted to the side of the vehicle. The rescue squad can also deploy multiple ground lights to remote areas. There is a roof mounted light tower that can be raised 40 feet above ground. The light tower can produce stadium lighting to an entire rescue scene.



Personnel on the rescue squad are trained as EMTs and Paramedics. The rescue squad carries a full complement of emergency medical supplies. The rescue squad carries the following EMS equipment: automated external defibrillator (AED), portable suction unit, first aid bag, trauma bag, splint boards, spinal immobilization devices, and backboards.

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