5 Woodlands Fire Department Technical Rescue Team Members Receive Urban Search and Rescue Specialist Certification

THE WOODLANDS, TX – On April 29, 5 members of the Woodlands Fire Department Technical Rescue Team received certification as Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Rescue Specialists from the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service – TEEX.

Congratulations to Lt. Chris Mitcham, Driver/Operator Gerard van der Werff, Driver/Operator Chris Evans, Firefighter Kevin Wiens and Firefighter Triston Whitehead for earning this prestigious designation.

The USAR Rescue Specialist certification is designed for members of a search and rescue team (task force) who wish to obtain the highest level of training and expertise in structural collapse rescue operations. . This involves more than 300 hours of mandatory training. The required classes involve the following courses:

1. Structural Collapse Specialist – 80 hours
2. NFPA 1006 Rope Rescue Technician – 100 hours
3. Advanced structural collapse 3 (external shoring) – 50 hours
4. Advanced structural collapse 4 (interior shoring) – 50 hours
5. Advanced structural collapse 5 (breach and rupture) – 50 hours
6. One elective course – Swiftwater Tech or Wide Area Search – 32 hours

Nationwide, there are only 225 people with this elite certification and nine of them are firefighters for TWFD. Thank you to Woodlands Township and the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for supporting and funding this amazing training.