The Montebello Fire Department initially became involved in urban search & rescue in 1984 with a total of ten personnel participating in the program. The program was initially designed to respond to the aftermath of local earthquakes, and since that time, the department has expanded its program to meet the needs and requirements of the local area and as part of resources available to the state in the event of a major disaster.
Today our department has 29 fire personnel that are fully trained urban search & rescue members. These members have received state fire marshal training in Rescue Systems I, Rescue Systems II, Confined Space Operational, and Emergency Trench Shoring. US&R personnel continue to participate in routine training with our department and other local agencies in which we participate with on a mutual aid basis.
The urban search & rescue program is designed to respond to the aftermath of local or mutual aid requests for disasters, i.e., earthquakes, floods, and terrorism events. However, the program also more routinely deals with high and low angle rope rescue, structural collapse, trench rescue, confined space rescue, and swift water rescue.
The Montebello Fire Department currently has a 1991 Emergency One tractor with a modified 1978 Hackney beverage trailer as its US&R apparatus. The tractor is a retrofitted apparatus that had previously been in service as a tractor for the department’s tillered aerial apparatus. The 1978 Hackney trailer was converted from a beverage trailer by Montebello Fire Department personnel at a considerable cost savings to the city. The equipment cache on the apparatus meets the “Heavy Level” requirements per the state of California Office of Emergency Services. A large amount of equipment carried on the apparatus was purchased through federal grants also saving the city a considerable amount of money.
The Montebello Fire Department US&R personnel are part of a mutual aid response that provide shared service to the cities of Compton, Downey, Santa Fe Springs, La Habra Heights, Vernon, and Montebello on a daily basis. Additionally, these personnel combine with other urban search & rescue personnel from the above cities as a Regional Urban Search & Rescue Task Force (CA-RTF-2) for response to major disasters within the State of California. This task force incorporates the use of 29 specially trained fire personnel that can be rapidly deployed with specialized equipment and apparatus in the event of a major disaster.