Urban Search & Rescue

HazmatSt. Charles County Rescue Strike Team #1 is one of 5 heavy rescue strike teams in the Metro St. Louis area that provide Urban Search & Rescue Services in the event of a disaster. The St. Charles County Team is made up of members from the Cottleville Fire Protection District, Central County Fire and Rescue, O’Fallon Fire Protection District, St. Charles City Fire Department, and Wentzville Fire Protection District. The Cottleville Fire Protection District has 11 firefighters who are members of the St. Charles County Special Operations Strike Team.

The team is designed for technical responses to rope and confined space rescue, as well as trench and structural collapse incidents. Trench Recovery Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) involves the location, rescue (extrication), and initial medical stabilization of victims trapped in confined spaces. Structural collapse is one of the leading causes of persons becoming trapped, however victims may also become trapped in transportation accidents, mines and collapsed trenches. Urban search-and-rescue is considered a "multi-hazard" discipline, as it may be needed for a variety of emergencies or disasters i.e. earthquakes, storms and tornadoes, floods, dam failures, technological accidents, terrorist activities, and hazardous materials releases.

Our team is primarily funded by the Federal Government through the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) which was put in place after the events of 09/11/2001. The team is equipped with state of the art USAR Equipment and has attended hundreds of hours of training to provide rescue services at large scale and complicated rescue scenes. The team can self support an around the clock rescue mission for up to 72 hours.

Additionally, team members are trained and equipped to be self sufficient for up to 72 hours. Strike Team #1 is available to respond to anywhere in the State of Missouri at a moments notice. As an example, the team responded to an April 2006 tornado that struck Caruthersville, Missouri; located 200 miles south of St. Louis, the Good Friday Tornado of 2011 that struck St. Louis County, and the 2011 tornado in Joplin, MO.


Members received their initial training through the University of Missouri Fire & Rescue Training Institute. Funding for the training came from UASI funding. Introduction to Technical Rescue, Rope & Confined Space Rescue – 60 hours. Trench Rescue Technician – 32 hours Structural Collapse Rescue Technician – 80 hours The team supports its own continuing education program for its membership on a quarterly basis.


57’ tractor trailer rescue unit purchased through UASI funds – This unit contains federally purchased rescue tools. Tools include high tech listening devices, search cams, shoring equipment, breaching and breaking equipment; and an assortment of other support equipment.

Hackney Rescue Trailer F-550 & 30’ Gooseneck purchased through UASI funds – This unit serves as the base of operations for long term incidents. Equipment on this vehicle include Western shelters, MRE’s, bottled water, air conditioners, heaters, showers, sinks, cots, and sleeping bags.

POD Truck – This unit was purchased with funds from the 2005 Haunted Hotel. This local resource is designed to haul the trench rescue equipment to the scene of the incident. The POD can be place directly on the ground allowing the members to unload its assets at ground level. The POD Truck is housed a Cottleville Fire Station 2.