Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service's Search and Rescue Team is made up of highly trained personnel who respond in support of operational crews to all technical rescue incidents. This type of incident includes road traffic collisions (RTC) involving entrapments and heavy vehicle incidents. The SRT was the first such dedicated team of its kind in the United Kingdom (UK) and is now the model for numerous Fire and Rescue Services as they look to develop their own similar teams. The team staff a specially modified fire appliance which carries specialist equipment for a variety of incidents. In addition, the team have access to a demountable pod which carries further heavier rescue equipment.
Technical Rescue incidents include:
- Water rescue - the team are all swift water technicians and rescue boat operators and capable of utilising a variety of assets at incidents including several rigid inflatable boats.
- Rope rescue - all the team are rope rescue operators and give the Service an additional capability for rescues from height or depth over and above that available with Rope Access Gear (RAG).
- Mud/ice - large animal, and confined space rescues. Additionally, the team provide training support to the Training and Development Academy's Technical Rescue Department.
- MTFA - all the team are Marauding Terrorist Firearms Attack trained and give the service an additional capability to respond to terrorist incidents.
The SRT work a self-rostering duty system with twelve personnel on duty at any one time. There is also a resilience of twelve personnel on call at all times to respond if required should the on duty team be involved in a protracted incident. This ensures a technical rescue response constantly available to the county. As part of the Government's Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) strategy (see New Dimension), all members of the SRT are also USAR technicians, forming one of the 18 USAR teams in England and Wales. As such the twelve personnel on duty can be deployed, if requested, to any major incidents throughout the UK. Additionally the SRT provide personnel as part of UKISARs (United Kingdom International Search and Rescue) heavy capability USAR Team. This is an INSARAG (International Search and Rescue Advisory Group) accredited Team which responds to overseas disasters to provide a Search and Rescue capability.