Studying the Skills Required and Expected for Rescue TeamsIntroduction “Disasters have plagued man since he first walked the earth, and they continue to affect the way we live practically every day” (Collins 2004, p. 19). I selected the topic because in addition to the direct benefit to victims, effective disaster rescue operations carry a great positive societal impact. Moreover, it can attract the attention of policy makers because government’s response to a disaster is fundamental to its existence, since many have fallen because of ineffective disaster response. This because an administration that is powerless against a disaster is exposed to public opinion that obviously probes the leader’s ability to rule effectively.
Therefore, the most logical route to evade such opinion is through rapid and efficient disaster response. More importantly, the public have a propensity to develop a sense of trust when they see a government managing a crisis effectively. As public expects a first-rate search and rescue service virtually in every situation, rescue has become an applicable, rational, and proven justification to develop the rescue capabilities of local fire departments. From the public’s perception, fire departments are normally the most cost-effective and competent entities ready to provide advanced rescue service on a daily basis.
It is a feature of a progressive society that increasing level of specialization, supported by specialized training, research and development, and resources, are mandatory for fire fighters and rescuers to counter that hazards with which they are confronted. Today, the notion that a usual tailboard fire fighter has all the skills required to deal with all fire and rescue hazards safely by virtue of conventional fire academy training and fire ground familiarity combined with common sense is no longer adequate.
Although common sense is generally accepted as one of the most essential factor for effective disaster operations, every so often common sense in itself does not provide all the tools required to function in hazardous life and death situation. Many fire fighters have lost their lives undertaking what appears rational at the time, without the benefit of prescribed training and skill concerning particularly hazardous circumstances similar to those found in many technical rescue emergencies and disasters. The element of risk can never be removed from rescue, but it can be decrease through tedious exercise, proper equipment, knowledge of hazard, smart planning, competent incident command, and teamwork.
Among these factors however, skill and realistic training are among the most significant. In disaster operations, it is intolerable to not do a job correctly the first time or take too long to conclude the operation, because it results in the potential for increase property loss and more casualties and injuries. Moreover, disaster operation skills become doubly essential when most of the tasks must be completed with a team of people.
“Skills that required muscle coordination can degrade rather quickly” (Smeby 2005, p. 107) and it is prevalent for members to have a better memory for the skill than their ability to perform the skill in actual situation. Thus, training in the basic skills must be an ongoing and requires endless development because the less often a skill is utilized, the bigger the necessity for rehearsing the skill.