ReSET will strive to coordinate the training and equipping needs of the various CAPCOG Regional response teams. We seek to ensure reliable, consistant teams that conform to the highest national standards.
The ReSET work-group is a sub-committee of the Technical Committee of the Homeland Security Taskforce of the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) Standing members included representative from all four CBRNE Teams, CoA Bomb Squad, ATCEMS and ATCHHS. Frequent visitors are the FBI and various representatives from the area ESDs. ReSET meets the last Thursday of each month.
Prior to June of 2004 the 4 HazMat teams were part of the “Technical Response Group” under the direction of the Homeland Security Task Force. At that time the “Technical Rescue Group” was comprised of Law Enforcement, Medical, and Fire/HazMat and they were tasked to create a CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive) response protocol, teams and response areas. As a large group they concentrated on the overall process of how the CAPCOG (Capital Area Council of Government) region would be protected if another terrorist event happened. This group allocated the Homeland Security Grant Funds in support of adequately equipping the 4 teams in the region. In June of 2004 Austin Fire Department (AFD‐Bob Wheeless, Gaylon Gipson, Greg Nye, Steve Street, and Mark McAdams), Williamson County HazMat (WCHM‐Marty Herrin), CAFCA (Capital Area Fire Chief’s Association‐ Travis County) HazMat (Simon Broussard and Kenny Pailes), San Marcos/Hayes County (Ken Bell) and APD (Austin Police Department) Bomb Squad (Kenny Wilson and Doug Dukes) met to start having possible joint training exercises and establish a working relationship between all the groups.
During our first meeting we realized that our only avenue for an 80 hour HazMat technician class, that met the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 472 commission class, was through Austin Fire Department (Steve Street). That was becoming a little too much of a burden on Steve and AFD. We decided to create a new technician class because we had so many employees that needed the certification. We also believed that by creating a regional class utilizing instructors from all of the teams that we could teach the concept of regional response to all new HazMat techs from the beginning.
During the discussion of the class we also realized that if we could standardize our equipment then when we build the new Tech Class we could utilize our own equipment and teach the students what they would see at their respective departments. This drove us to start standardizing our equipment that we were getting through the Homeland Security Grant Funds. Standardization allowed us to have the capability of utilizing any of the 4 team’s equipment if the respective team’s equipment were to go down for repair. With this working group we were able to standardize all of our monitoring equipment throughout the region.
While completing the new tech curriculum (which took almost a year), we continued to meet to standardize the responses for all types of Hazardous Materials or potential terrorist calls. Slowly other members from Emergency Services Organizations began coming to the meetings including FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), Travis County Health, State Health, Austin/Travis County EMS (Emergency Medical Services), Williamson County EMS, and 6th CST (Civil Support Team). This group eventually created the standard protocols for all of our CBRNE responses. In November of 2005 we began testing out our system for deploying any of the 4 CBRNE teams if needed. We then followed this up with an actual meet and greet In December 2005. This allowed all the teams to come together and see what each organization had. In 2006 it was decided that we should move to the next level of setting up a full scale exercise that would require all 4 CBRNE teams along with the 6th CST. In November we finally had our 1st full scale deployment drill to Kyle, Texas. We planned the drill so that there would be a staggered response to allow only 2 teams to be tied up at any one time. Since then we have continually met. Every year we plan a full CBRNE drill in November to test out our ability to get the page, respond to the call, work with the local departments (if they wish), address a HazMat concern, tie‐in with another team, debrief and then travel home safely. In 2007 As the HazMat portion of the group continued to meet and have good success at presenting classes and requesting grant funds it was decided that we should expand this to encompass an all Hazards response to a major event. The group discussed that in order to meet any other specialized
response you must have a good knowledge of Technical Rescue. Again we were challenged with where someone goes to get this specialized training, what techniques are taught, and how much does it cost, The RESET group then tasked a group of knowledgeable Technical Rescue Specialist to see could they do the same as what the HazMat members did and create a set of Technical Rescue classes that would meet the needs of the region.
In 2007 the RESET committee started the process of developing a technical rescue curriculum. To insure we conformed to national standards the program was developed following NFPA 1006‐ Standard for Technical Rescuer Professional Qualifications. This would allow us to be compliant with accrediting requirements for a third party accreditation and/or meet any future curriculum requirements that may be generated by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP). There were various individuals who participated who represented multiple agencies throughout the region.
The first curriculum developed was the General Rescue class, which meets all of the requirements in chapter 5 of NFPA 1006. This became a 40‐hour course and is the entry class required for any other technical rescue class RESET offers. The first General Rescuer class débuted September 2007 and has since delivered 11 classes training 150 students from the departments around the region once the Rope Curriculum Committee was established, the next to be developed was the Rope Rescue curriculum. One of the committee members was involved in changes coming in the new 2008 edition of NFPA 1006. The 2008 edition made large changes in terminology. It discarded the traditional terms “Operations” and Technician” that is common in technical rescue and still used in HazMat. The new standard uses the term “Level I and Level II” for the different levels of training. This was done to be consistent with the other Professional Qualification standards. The “Level I and Level II” terminology is familiar to many of us because it is used for Firefighter Professional Qualifications as defined in NFPA 1001. Knowing this coming change a curriculum was developed and became the 40‐hour Rope Rescue Level I and 40‐hour Rope Rescue Level II programs. The first Rope Rescue Level I class was given in October 2008 and the first Rope Rescue Level II was given in April 2009. In February 2010 we delivered our first combine Rope Level I and Level II in an 80 hour format. This was highly successful and became the format used for future classes. To complete a RESET Technical Rescue class a student must successfully pass a written exam and pass multiple skills test verifying their ability to perform the skills taught. This testing ensures students return to their home agencies with a baseline level of training. This is documented and feedback provided to the student and agency through a Task Book.
NFPA 1006 has 13 identified Technical Rescue disciplines. These include: Rope, Confined Space, Trench, Structural Collapse, Vehicle Machinery, Surface Water, swiftwater, Dive, Ice, Surf, Wilderness, Mine and Tunnel, and Cave. Currently RESET offers training in Rope. Swiftwater is about to be finalized with it 2nd set of changes from the 1st class. We have developed a Confined Space class hope to deliver routine confined space and swiftwater classes in 2013.
With this ReSET will be providing HazMat Technician, General Rope Rescue, Rope Level I and II, Confined Space and swiftwater every year. This gives the local Emergency Service groups the ability to obtain NFPA standardized training yearly without having to travel at a reasonable cost to the department. Our goal will be to continue to grow the different classes to meet the needs of the Emergency Services in our region.