Hello WAMAA members!

Below is the press release sent out by our Technical Rescue Team.  Please let it be known that the water rescue division of the TRT is equipped, trained, and ready for activation whenever needed.

April 2, 2017


The Washtenaw Area Mutual Aid Association, in cooperation with the Washtenaw County Homeland Security Task Force and the Washtenaw County Technical Rescue Team are proud to announce the Water Rescue group of the Technical Rescue Team.

The Washtenaw County Technical Rescue Team (WCTRT) was developed to respond to complicated rescue situations throughout Washtenaw County that require specialized skills and equipment. These specialized or technical rescues include rope, confined space, trench, and building collapse rescue incidents. Area fire departments also identified a need for assistance in responding to emergencies involving people in and around water. These types of incidents could involve canoeists overturned in swift water currents of the Huron River, or people trapped in their cars during floods. It was a natural fit to expand the WCTRT to be able to respond to these types of emergencies.

The water rescue group is comprised of personnel from Fire Departments throughout Washtenaw and Livingston County as well as paramedics from Huron Valley Ambulance. The group is currently comprised of 16 members lead by the WCTRT operational staff. Management oversight is provided by a board of fire chiefs from across the county.

The team operates with two rescue squads, and a boat, as well as a utility truck and an additional boat from Ann Arbor. Currently these rescue vehicles are stored in the Dexter area, Ann Arbor Township. and Ann Arbor city fire stations. The Fire Departments there have agreed to deploy them anywhere the team is needed.

The team trains once monthly. After nearly 200 hours of training to include practicing multiple realistic scenarios that involve rescuing persons trapped in or around water, the group is now operational.

The training and equipment to properly address these incidents is very expensive. And the risk level has been extremely high to the first responders attempting the rescue. While the rescue efforts in the past have been the responsibility of the local fire departments, this team will provide for a local, central, organized resource that can respond with state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained rescuers to handle incidents such as these in the future.

Funding for the team comes from a myriad of sources. Much of the equipment was purchased under grants made available by the Washtenaw County Homeland Security Task Force under grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Two of the response vehicles were donated to the team by Huron Valley Ambulance. Also, some existing equipment was made available by the City of Ann Arbor Fire Department. Members of the team also solicited donations to include one of the boats and some of the personal protective equipment. Compensation for the members, while they are training or deployed, is the responsibility of the emergency service agency they are members of. Ongoing operational expenses are expected to be covered by the Fire Departments in Washtenaw County under cost recovery ordinances that are designed to recoup response costs from incidents that require the deployment of the team.

The Team is a great example of a cooperative working agreement involving many agencies and jurisdictions that addresses a regional need in a very cost effective manner.

For further information, please contact Director Mike Chevrette of the Washtenaw County Technical Rescue Team at chevrettem@gmail.com


Ryan from Pittsfield