The Butte Interagency Rescue Group (BIRG) is a cooperative association of eight agencies that was formed in 1999. These agencies include Chico Fire Department, CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire Department, Butte County Sheriff's Office, including Search and Rescue, El Medio Fire Protection District, Oroville Fire Department and the Plumas National Forest.
The intent of this group is to respond the highest level of trained rescue technicians with the appropriate apparatus to an incident by responding the closest resources despite jurisdictional boundaries. The intent is to serve the public in the most effective and efficient way possible.
BIRG is trained in six specific rescue disciplines which include:
- Over the Edge Rope Rescue
- Confined Space Rescue
- Urban Search and Rescue
- Deep Water Rescue
- Swift Water Rescue
- Air Rescue
The BIRG training program is both individual and cooperative. Each agency is its own entity in that they govern themselves and perform on-going in house training with its own internal rescue team specializing in technical rescue. They are cooperative in that each agency is signatory to a cooperative agreement which provides Standard Operating Guidelines which all agencies adhere to. In addition, on-going interagency BIRG training is conducted. The Standard Operating Guidelines are contained within this website.
In order to accomplish the rapid response of closest resources to a technical rescue incident, a method of dispatching resources from multiple agencies must be in place. This is accomplished through the Butte Area Coordinating Dispatch Center which is the CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire Department, Emergency Command Center (ECC). Through the ECC, requests can be placed for resources in the event a rescue needs to be performed. The dispatcher can then reference a Standard Response Plan for any given area and dispatch appropriate resources from any or all agencies as the need dictates.
Over the period of time that BIRG has been in existence they have performed countless rescues with a high level of success. These rescues have been as diverse as is the county in which it serves with the valley rivers, lakes, high mountains with the many rivers and canyons, the industrial areas and the railroad system. These rescues have been accomplished from air, under the water, on the water, within deep canyons, high in the mountains, on canyon edges, from under debris, and from both farming and industrial settings.
Through the high level of dedication from the involved agencies and individuals, BIRG will continue to provide technical rescue operations though a spirit of cooperation.