What types of technical rescue training are there?

If you’re looking to train for rescue operations in a particular industry, you may already have a list of courses to take—but if you’re not sure where you want to specialize or what to expect, the list of options available at your local rescue school can be overwhelming. Let’s take a look at the most common forms of technical rescue and what they cover:

Vehicle and machinery

Rescue courses specializing in the removal of trapped people from damaged vehicles. This type of rescue typically focuses on bracing for stabilization and the use of hydraulic tools to remove anyone trapped without further injury.


A form of technical rescue operating in confined spaces and locations only accessibly by traversing a confined space, such as storage vaults and tanks, sewers, silos, etc. Training often emphasizes ventilation, cinches to pull the victim out via rope, and protective gear to deal with hazardous environments.

Confined space rescue can encompass a wide variety of scenarios and situations, and thus is often divided further into sub-specializations, such as trench rescue.


Technical rope rescue encompasses a wide variety of rescue techniques utilizing ropes of various materials to secure individuals, environments, etc. Rope rescue is often used to extract victims from heights, but the principles of rope rescue are utilized in certain scenarios in most forms of technical rescue. For this reason, rope rescue is sometimes used as a supplementary course for other forms of technical rescue, or included in part or in whole in other training courses.

Structural collapse

A form of rescue for dealing with victims trapped in collapsed structures, with a particular emphasis on the use of specialized tools and engineering principles to minimize the risk of unpredictable changes in the environment.


Water rescue courses focus on training for dealing with victims trapped in water. Due to the variety of situations this can encompass, water rescue is often further broken down into specialized fields such as swift water rescue and surface water rescue.

Parting thoughts

All forms of technical rescue training encompass certain baseline responder techniques and best practices, such as first aid, situational awareness, and basic safety equipment, but it’s important to match the right form of training to the situation at hand.