Rescue Mitigation Program

The department responds to remove persons from a place of danger to a place of safety when they cannot do so themselves. At the other end of the spectrum, it includes the recovery of remains when normal access is not available. While this is the textbook definition of rescue it sums up both the challenges and frustrations of rescue. The RSAs place the department in the position of the responsible organization for all but wilderness search and rescue.

Rescue services vary from the traditional rescue from burning buildings to confined space, to water rescue in its many forms, to vehicles and aircraft, to elevator, to machinery entrapment. Animal rescue is the latest addition to this threat. An animal not rescued or ignored by trained personnel will receive attention from someone, whether trained or not.


Notification is usually scanty information based upon the perception of someone passing by, transmitted over CB radio or the frantic call of a person in emotional distress. Delays from the time of occurrence to time of discovery and notification can be enormous and yet be of little or tremendous consequence depending on the type of rescue call. Each discipline of rescue requires specific equipment, training, and preparation while presenting its own set of dangers to the rescuer. An example is in confined space rescue where 60% of the fatalities are rescuers!


Response in terms of both speed and resources is dictated by the type of rescue involved and is the decision of the on-duty crew. As an example, an elevator rescue may take one or two firefighters while an aircraft rescue will take all of our resources and additional help from surrounding towns.

Our typical rescue call is for vehicle extrication. We respond with sufficient resources to remove the patient from the car while at the same time protecting the scene from potential fire, traffic, and environmental hazards. Once patient rescue is completed, department personnel support the efforts of the ambulance with direct patient care, movement, and/or transport. Patient care for a crash patient is based on the Golden Hour. This concept dictates that the patient be under definitive care at the hospital within one hour of the crash. For this reason, the department responds to motor vehicle crashes with report of injury, unknown injury or fire/environmental hazards created by the crash. Of the more than 700 motor vehicle crashes in the City of Lebanon in 1995, the Fire Department responded to approximately 162.


The Rescue with cross-trained EMS, rescue and suppression firefighters is the basic resource for rescue. Rescue is augmented based on the needs of the individual call on a case-by-case basis. These additional needs can be from the simple as in resources available from within the department (ladders, hose, rescuers, etc.) to the extreme in the case of an occupied building collapse.