In March of 1993, a meeting was held at Station 9 (Dover Township) after an incident at Modern Landfill. Dover Township, along with many other rescue companies, had been dispatched to assist with a confined space rescue after a man became trapped in a vent hole at the landfill. It was obvious at this incident that “specialized" rescue was lacking in York County. Meeting attendance included members from stations 9, 2 and 5. A preliminary discussion was held but no team was officially organized.
In October 1993 units were dispatched to Brunner Island to assist with recovery of a worker in the number one stack. It was again obvious that units lacked the specialized gear for this type of rescue. After this incident Dover Township spent $6,000.00 on rope gear and qualified numerous personnel to Rope Level III certification. In November 1993 Dover Township was again dispatched to Handwerk Quarry to assist with an engulfment rescue. This was our first "save".
In early 1994 Dover Township built the rope training tower and a larger meeting was held with stations 34, 35, 2, 49, 66, 5 and 64 in attendance. Shortly after this meeting, Dover Township formed their own Technical Rescue Team within their own station. Later, Andy Crouse came on board and started to integrate Station 46 (Hanover) into the team. In late 1994 it was determined that York County would be split into two sections, writing of Standard Operating Guidelines had begun and regular meetings for the rescue team were held. In July 1994, Dover Township held its first trench class to the rear of the existing station.
In June 1995, the team helped unearth a homicide victim that was located on Harmony Grove Road in Dover Township. A tri-pod was rigged over top of the victim so that a state trooper could be suspended over the site to take pictures. This was a very long night!
In the late 90’s, York County groups began to attend Baltimore County Fire Department Trench Rescue classes. This group realized that apparatus was needed to carry the equipment the team had and the equipment needed move forward. Glenn Jansen approached the fire school for help and in the summer of 1996 the York County Fire Chief’s Association gave the team the old Hazmat truck. Dover Township spent about $5,000 to repair and paint the truck then spent another $5,000 in equipment purchases. This unit was in service until 2001 when the motor failed.
November 1997 was our first meeting with two members from Station 36 (Yoe). They felt they could help with team endeavors on rope related calls. Shortly after, Rick Rorrer and Glenn Jansen agreed to add Station 36 as part of the team to help cover the south end of the county. In 1997 the SOG’s were revised as the team continued to meet, train and prepare themselves for technical rescue responses within York County.
Station 61 (Shrewsbury) joined the team in 2001 after discussion and agreement from the three stations which comprised the team at that time. This added a fourth element covering the south eastern portions of the county and allowed team members with equipment to be staged in all four corners of the county. In June 2002, team members met with Chief Sevinson to begin talks of regional technical response. In 2002 $8,000 was spent on the existing equipment trailer.
A few years later, Budweiser Brewery Products of York provided a used delivery truck for team use. Yoe Fire Company agreed to house the unit at their station and provide personnel to respond with the unit on calls. The team assumed responsibility for the truck and any needed maintenance. After hard work by team members, the truck was placed in service as Collapse 36 as this unit holds much of our heavy equipment for collapse rescues.
In 2008, after many swift water rescue responses due to flood waters related to heavy storms, team resources were quickly depleted. The need to partner with other water rescue teams and boat teams throughout the adjacent counties was discussed. John Sanford and Glenn Jansen coordinated a meeting with our team and local boat teams to discuss how boat team personnel and our team's swift water rescue personnel could better integrate and be utilized for responses. Swift and flood water rescue responses represented the highest call volume in 2008 for our team. This meeting was successful in developing pre-plans for water rescue responses. That same year, York County ATR and in-county boat resources were staged, at the request of the Baltimore County Fire Department, at Station 61 for flooding expected as a result of hurricane Hanna. This was the first time our team was included in the incident action plan as a resource backing-up Baltimore County's USAR team and other Baltimore County resources deployed for the expected flooding.
Today, the team is an all volunteer organization comprised of four York County stations (9, 36, 46 and 61) receiving funding for operations, training and equipment largely by each of the four member stations. Our annual fundraiser, Mason-Dixon Trench Weekend, helps with our expenses and supplements equipment purchases for the team. The South Central Task Force, formed after 9/11, has assisted the team in receiving federally funded equipment purchased for Urban Search and Rescue. York County ATR is a local county resource within the USAR structure responding to incidents with other local USAR elements in a multi-county response area in the South Central Region of Pennsylvania.