Heavy Vehicle Rescue Training Course Logistics

This information is provided for class sponsors to plan for and prepare for the heavy rescue training program. The information has been compiled based on our experiences teaching this program many times in past years. We feel strongly that the resources noted are necessary to conduct a comprehensive training program. Please feel free to contact us to discuss any concerns, etc.


This program can be difficult from a logistics standpoint, however there needs to be enough vehicles and equipment for all students to have adequate practical skills experience. Program sponsors will want to begin making contacts for resources no less than six months in advance of the start of the program. These resources cannot be found as readily as cars.

Class sponsors should acquire the following based on 24-30 students:

  • Minimum 1 school bus or other type bus*.
  • Minimum of 2 medium or large trucks* – one of these should be a truck-tractor.
  • At least 2 cars to be integrated into the exercises.
  • The above vehicles will be cut-on/destroyed during the training program.
  • One piece of large/heavy construction equipment – will not be damaged, only for heavy lifting scenario.
  • Obviously additional vehicles will enhance the learning environment.


We will need 2 well-equipped rescues for 20-25 students for the final 8 hours of class. “Well-equipped” refers to rescue units that carry the minimum equipment identified in the PA Voluntary SVR2Rescue Service program at the operations level (advanced level is preferred however). Rescues will need to be “committed” so Chiefs should arrange standby coverage or dispatch procedures as appropriate.

Specifically, pneumatic lifting bags will be needed, as well as an overabundance of cribbing and other stabilization devices.


Each heavy rescue class has a pre-test and homework assignment that must be completed by the students PRIOR to the start of the class. The assignments and instructions will be emailed to the class point-of-contact approximately 4 weeks before the first class session and will need to be copied and sent to all registered students prior to the class. It is important to both the student and the class to complete the homework PRIOR to the first class session.


Class sponsors should contact their local heavy towing/recovery services to invite them to participate in integrated exercises on the practical skills day. We have found that these folks will usually jump at the chance to work side-by-side with rescue services. We utilize these services as they will be a significant resource to rescue companies in real situations, and training together affords the services with a comfort level and understanding of each others capabilities.


Based on our past experiences with the program, we find it both beneficial and important that students and agencies participate in some study and activities PRIOR to the actual class. These files will be provided to the class POC 6-8 weeks before the program and should be given to all students and agencies participating in the class. The pre-class assignments help with review of the items below in the weeks leading up to the class.


  • Conduct a general inspection and review of all rescue equipment carried by your agency. Make sure personnel are aware of equipment locations on the apparatus and the quantities of all items.
  • Lifting airbags – inspect lift bags and system for proper operation; verify capacities and capacity limitations; and practice using the system as a team.
  • Rigging chains – verify grade; inspect for proper construction, any damaged links and hook deformation.
  • Winches (mounted or portable) – Check wire rope for damage and that it is properly spooled onto the winch. Make sure that connection between winch and the hook are correct. Review operating instructions and capacities.
  • Review your department’s outside resource list. Do you have a resource list? Is the information accurate and up-to-date?
  • Review the mass casualty protocols and system used in your area/region.


Classroom facilities will be needed for each of the classes. In choosing a facility keep the following in mind:

  • Tables and chairs to comfortably seat all students.
  • An extra table in the rear of the room for instructor materials, equipment, etc.
  • Projection screen or white wall.
  • White/black board – although not required – are helpful.
  • LCD Projector and Computer with USB ports. **If you do not have these, we have access to them.


Class sponsors should arrange for lunches and break refreshments to be brought to the practical skills training area. Times, etc. can be flexible and can be discussed prior to that day. Please consider weather/temperature when planning food and drink items.