Earlier this week, the 2021 update to NFPA 1006 Standard for Technical Rescue Personnel Professional Qualifications was released. I have been tracking the changes coming for quite some time and have been tweaking my curriculum accordingly. Here are some of my thoughts on some of the changes.


Rope Rescue Operations is a pre-requisite for…

If you remember, the 2017 update did away with the “General Requirements” chapter and moved most of those job performance requirements (JPRs) to the Rope Rescue Awareness and Operations chapters. Naturally, Rope Rescue Operations then became a pre-requisite for many of the other disciplines.

In the 2021 update, Rope Rescue Operations was removed as a pre-requisite for many of the major disciplines. It is still required for certain disciplines that require a lot of rope skills, such as Tower Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, and Swiftwater Rescue. However, it was removed from many others such as Structural Collapse Rescue Technician, which was surprising to me and something I do not totally agree with.

Ascending and descending rope is now technician level

The 2021 update has moved the skills of ascending and descending rope to the technician level. This also includes being able to self-rescue from a jammed or malfunctioning descent control device. I think this was a good move to make. Operations level personnel are still required to get on rope while being lowered and raised by their teammates, but most of the operations level skills now are boots-on-the-ground rigging skills. The technician level includes all of the more challenging on-rope skills and advanced rigging systems such as horizontal rope rescue systems.

Vehicle Rescue has been changed, AGAIN!

In the 2013 edition, vehicle rescue was still combined with machinery rescue. In 2017, vehicle and machinery rescue were split into two separate disciplines. Vehicle rescues involving passenger vehicles were considered operations level and rescues involving heavy vehicles were technician level.

In the 2021 update, the committee has separated vehicle rescue into two different disciplines. We now have Common Passenger Vehicle Rescue and Heavy Vehicle Rescue, each with their own set of awareness, operations, and technician level JPRs. The rough break down is that if the vehicle is resting on all four-wheels or as it is intended to be used, it is operations level. If the vehicle is any other position it is technician level.

I like the way the new standard breaks down vehicle rescue into two different disciplines. Unfortunately, some places still have not finished updating their curriculum to meet the 2017 revision, and this 2021 update will likely cause even more confusion at the local level.

There were obviously other changes made to the standard, but these were the three biggest updates that I noticed. Elder Technical Rescue Services, LLC will be using the updated standard in all our programs immediately. Contact me to discuss setting up training for your agency.

Bill Elder
Owner / Lead Instructor
Elder Technical Rescue Services, LLC