The Western Massachusetts Regional Technical Team was training in confined spaces at the water treatment plant in Holyoke Thursday. The team consists of about 100 men and women from fire departments all over western Massachusetts. They have been training for more than a year for very specific rescues. There were multiple training sessions because class size is limited. About 25 firefighters were training on Thursday.
Funding for equipment and training was provided by the Department of Homeland Security. It was part of a program to standardize response. The procedures and tools are the same across the Commonwealth. Mark V. McCabe of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy said this will allow multiple firefighters to respond anywhere in the state and be able to work together.
In June, the teams were involved in high-angle technical rescues from a parking garage in Holyoke.
McCabe said the next step for the firefighters was to be trained in trench rescue, getting people to safety who have been buried.
If all goes well, the team was expected to complete their training and be ready to deploy by the beginning of 2014.
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