Urban Search and Rescue Team


Emergencies that require specialized technical rescue personnel, skills, and equipment can occur at any time.  When they strike the City of Stockton, the Stockton Fire Department (SFD) Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Team is the first to respond.

Whether it's a building collapse trapping hundreds of people, a child trapped in a deep vertical shaft, or a window washer stuck on a high-rise building, we provide the technical knowledge and resources to safely rescue those in need.

 Confined Space 1


After the 1985 earthquakes in Mexico City, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Emergency Management Agency (CALEMA) realized the same type of catastrophe could happen in the United States.


FEMA identified areas of the Mexico City incident that could be improved and developed trained teams, strategically located around the nation and equipped for immediate response to similar incidents.  CALEMA became the coordinating agency for teams in California.


The SFD acknowledged the potential for similar incidents within its own jurisdiction and sent five of its members through the California State Fire Marshal Heavy Rescue pilot program in 1986.


By 1989, our Fire Chief designated Company 3 as SFD's US&R Team. 

Trench Rescue 1


OES Urban Search and Rescue Resource Types

(Reference- FIRESCOPE Operational System Description ICS 420-1, 06/04)


And since 1989, the requirements for US&R equipment and training have grown exponentially.  CALEMA now defines local agency resources based on standardized equipment lists, training levels, and operational capability. 

  • Type 1 (Heavy) - Heavy Floor Construction, Pre-Cast Concrete Construction, Steel Frame Construction, High Angle Rope Rescue (including highline systems), Confined Space Rescue (permit required), and Mass Transportation Rescue.
  • Type 2 (Medium) - Heavy Wall Construction, High-Angle Rope Rescue (not including highline systems), Confined Space Rescue (no permit required), and Trench and Excavation Rescue.
  • Type 3 (Light) - Light Frame Construction and Low-Angle Rope Rescue.
  • Type 4 (Basic) - Surface Rescue and Non-Structural Entrapment in Non-Collapsed Structures. 

Rescue Team

The Stockton Fire Department's US&R Team operates at the CALEMA Type 1 (Heavy) level with one Type 1 (Heavy) truck company and two Type 3 (Light) truck companies.  We provide comprehensive, specialized rescue services including:

  • High-Angle Rope,
  • Confined Space,
  • Trench Rescue,
  • Structural Collapse, and
  • Mass-Transportation Rescue.  



The SFD operates a State Fire Marshal certified training site of regularly-scheduled:

  • Low-Angle Rope Rescue Operational,
  • Rescue Systems I and 2,
  • Trench Rescue, and
  • Confined-Space Rescue Technician courses.  

This allows us to offer California State Fire Marshal certified classes to our members, personnel from outside agencies and private industry.


The Stockton Fire Department US&R Team constructed a training facility with donated materials and grant funding at a minimal cost to the City of Stockton.  The training site, located at Company 2, offers an extensive training layout of:

  • intricate underground pipe maze,
  • above and below ground vertical shafts,
  • storage tanks,
  • two-story multi-functional collapse structure, and
  • rubble pile that replicates conditions encountered at large structural collapse events.

High-Angle Rescue training is conducted in the SFD training tower and at off-site locations.


About UsRescue 3

The US&R program is headquartered at Company 2, the department's main station.


The Company consists of Engine 2, Truck 2, and Rescue 2 with a roster of more than 50 personnel trained to the CALEMA Type 1 (Heavy) Level.


In 2010, full-size Pierce Rescue vehicle was added.  This vehicle was purchased through a public-private partnership using U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Assistance to Firefighters Grant funds, and funds donated by the local Food-4-Less grocery retailer.


The Stockton Fire Department US&R Team operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, with three shifts of seven personnel.  Of those seven personnel, a minimum of six personnel per shift, are trained to the CALEMA Type 1 (Heavy) level.


The US&R Team has a minimum of two paramedics on duty per day. And many of our members are cross-trained in Water Rescue and Hazardous Materials response, exceeding the minimum standards set by FEMA and CALEMA.


For more information, please contact the Stockton Fire Department US&R Team



External Links


California Emergency Management Agency (CALEMA)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

This City of Stockton web page last reviewed on --- 6/29/2015