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County Executive George Latimer and the Department of Emergency Services unveiled a state-of-the-art rescue vehicle today that will enhance the capabilities of the DES Technical Rescue Team.

“As the recent tragedy in Surfside, Florida, reminds us, it is imperative that firefighters have the specialized training and equipment they need to respond to building collapses and other complex, large-scale incidents and emergencies. In Westchester County, a critical way we remain prepared is by having a highly skilled Technical Rescue Team,” Latimer said.

Latimer noted that the Technical Rescue Team is maintained by the County as a shared service and is available to assist local fire departments to respond to a wide range of incidents.

Acting DES Commissioner Richard G. Wishnie said the new vehicle, a 2020 Spartan Metro/Hackney Rescue truck, will permit the Tech Rescue team to carry out its mission more effectively. Known officially as Rescue 77, the vehicle significantly improves the equipment storage capacity, emergency lighting capability, emergency power supply and other features as compared to the vehicle it is replacing.

“For the past 15 years, dedicated volunteers have trained regularly and are prepared to respond to calls for assistance where their specialized skills have saved many lives.  We are grateful for their service and thankful for the opportunity to provide state of the art equipment that is available to communities throughout Westchester and the region,” Wishnie said.

Founded in 2006, the County TRT consists of firefighters from multiple departments along with EMS and industry personnel. It was formed to assist emergency response agencies in technical rescue emergencies in Westchester County.

The TRT provides equipment, apparatus, highly trained personnel and logistical support during technical challenges to local agencies in the following areas:

  • High- and low-angle rope rescues;
  • Confined space rescue;
  • Structural collapse;
  • Trench rescue;
  • Swift water/flood rescue.

The new rescue truck, which was purchased with federal grant funds, will replace a 2001 Salisbury Rescue purchased used from the Syosset Fire Department in 2006. That truck has been transferred to the Westchester County Police and will be repurposed as an equipment vehicle for its Emergency Services Unit.

Other features of Rescue 77:

  • The vehicle allows for safer transport of TRT members by having air bags for front and rear cab passengers and advanced seatbelt technology;
  • An exterior safety staircase allows to access roof compartments;
  • Recessed awnings can be deployed on both sides of the vehicle during inclement weather;
  • Increased storage capacity allows TRT to keep additional equipment on board that once was stored on warehouse shelves. That equipment needed to be placed on board at the time of a response depending on the nature of the emergency.