On Sunday February 28, 2016 the Harwich Fire Department was dispatched to 6 Spring Tide Lane to assist the Harwich Police with a search for a reported person in distress in a large tidal marsh area behind the address. The resident of the home reported hearing and making verbal contact with a person yelling for help in an unknown area within the marsh.
To ensure proper command and control of the incident and coordination of resources the Harwich Fire Department under the direction of Chief Clarke established a unified command post with the Harwich Police Department and immediately sent on scene fire and police personnel to conduct a rapid search of the accessible walking trails and areas abutting the marsh. Due to the type and size of the area being searched Chief Clarke requested additional resources including a State Police air unit, Barnstable County K-9 unit, Department of Fire Services rehabilitation and incident command vehicles, Barnstable County Incident Management Team, Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office Communications unit, Red Cross, and the Barnstable County Technical Rescue Team which responded with 20 members including Brewster Chief Moran and Firefighter Daniel Kimball.
Upon arrival the technical rescue team developed a plan dividing the search area into several sectors assigning one technical rescue squad with GPS equipment to each. After approximately two hours of intensive searching of the marsh including an air search by a State Police helicopter along with ground and water searches the units on scene were unable to locate any individual in distress. With no other reports of a missing person being made the incident was terminated at approximately 1:00 p.m.
This response of the Technical Rescue Team highlights the type of resources and services the unit is able to offer local police and fire departments. The team is trained to respond to and operate at building collapses, trench rescues, confined space rescues, high angle rope rescues, and wide area searches such as the incident identified above. The regional team consists of 50 highly trained firefighters from a number of participating Cape Cod fire departments.