DIVE & SWIFT WATER RESCUE
The team is equipped with an enclosed cab dive rescue truck and a Zodiac watercraft as well as ice rescue suits for winter operations. The team is available to assist jurisdictions throughout the front range, and was instrumental in the floods of 2013, recording 3 confirmed saves.
Berthoud Fire’s Dive Rescue Program is one of the largest and most active water rescue teams in Northern Colorado now consisting of 10 Dive Rescue International certified rescue divers and 18 Swiftwater I certified rescuers. The team will be equipped with a new dive rescue response vehicle in 2019 which will transport a watercraft as well as ice rescue suits for winter operations. The Dive Rescue Program is headed up by Lieutenant Dan Forbis, a U.S. Navy veteran with more than eleven years of experience in the fire service who has maintained a Swift Water I, II, and Instructor certification. In addition, we have one firefighter who is a Public Safety Scuba Instructor.
All District firefighters are surface ice rescue technicians. 8 members of the Dive Rescue Team are sub-surface technicians for below ice diving and are equipped with ice rescue suits for winter operations.
All District firefighters train on rope rescue technique, and 6 members have completed 40 hours of training from “Rigging for Rescue.” Our rope rescue crew is equipped with various ropes and tools to perform a rescue in an area that requires lifting or lowering of a patient from difficult terrain. The utilization of these skills is contingent on the effective and proficient use of rope techniques that involve tying a variety of knots, use of friction devices and construction of mechanical advantage systems.
All of Berthoud Fire’s operations personnel are trained to combat grass and wild fires within the District, and wild fires make up a large portion of our call volume in the spring and summer.
In addition to local responsibilities, Berthoud Fire is a wildland fire cooperator, which means we share our resources with other jurisdictions in need. More than 30 members of our staff, as well as an annual complement of seasonal wildland firefighters, are rostered in a national database with our apparatus and equipment, and available to deploy to fires all over the U.S. Berthoud’s wildland team is one of the most active cooperator programs in the state, consistently deploying to California, Arizona, Utah, Montana and wherever the need exists. Members of the team carry extensive certifications in everything from incident management to coordinating with aviation resources. Deployments can last up to 21 days, where crews are “camped” out on the fireline, protecting homes, businesses, and entire towns while battling the biggest wild fires in the country.
The Wildland Team is a source of great pride for the District, and has historically contributed as a healthy revenue stream to supplement the District’s annual budget.
We currently have 4 single resources which are firefighters who work on a on-call basis during wildland fire season as an additional crew member of a team we assemble. We also have 3 wildland seasonal personnel who are call for wildland calls for the 2018 season.
Special Operations S.O.T.
(in conjunction with Loveland Fire Rescue Authority)
Berthoud Fire now has three trained crew members who take part in LFRA’s Special Operations Team. As part of the agreement Berthoud Fire participates in combined training and response to special operation incidents.
SOT covers 3 main areas
1. Water rescue including dive, swift water and surface ice rescue.
2. Hazardous Materials response.
3. USAR including rope rescue, building collapse, trench rescue, confined space and large animal rescue.
The 3 members from our department were chosen by us to represent each shift. Their function is to not only participate in LFRA’s team but to be the technical experts for their shifts in the areas that are covered by SOT. Once training is obtained those members provide additional training for their shift. When we have special operations needs and LFRAs team comes down to assist we can help the team fold into our operation more smoothly by acting as a liaison and filling a position in the chain of command.
This participation in SOT has allowed us to better serve our district. With this new model we can make things smoother and quicker. When we respond to a call that requires LFRAs SOT we will call for them and then we can assess the situation and come up with a plan and begin setting up equipment and systems while they are still en route.