Res­cue per­son­nel tackle trench res­cue train­ing

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Doug Walker As­so­ci­ate Editor

The first thing most per­son­nel at the scene of a trench col­lapse usu­ally try to do is lo­cate the vic­tim(s). Rome-Floyd Fire Cap­tain Clay Walker said of­ten times that kind of quick dig­ging can also lead to tragedies.

As­phyx­i­a­tion, be­ing trapped un­der soil, is the big­gest threat to some­one who has been caught in a trench col­lapse. “Things that can go wrong for who­ever is on the scene. If they’ve got a back­hoe, they want to start dig­ging to find the vic­tim, but peo­ple can get killed do­ing that,” Walker said. “They don’t know ex­actly where they’re at and dig too deep.”

“Un­like a lot of things that we do, it’s time-in­ten­sive, so it’s some­thing we’ve re­ally got to take our time with,” Walker said. “You’re al­ready deal­ing with some­thing that is un­sta­ble when we get there, so we have to take our time in lo­cat­ing the vic­tim and get­ting our sup­plies to the scene.”

Fire Chief Troy Brock said the last trench res­cue he can re­mem­ber was a prob­lem out­side the old Ga­ley & Lord mill in Shan­non more than 20 years ago.

“If ev­ery­body did what they were sup­posed to do, a trench box, shoring it up, we should never have one,” Brock said. “There’s al­ways some out there that don’t. It’s just one of those ar­eas of train­ing you have to be pre­pared for. It’s very spe­cial­ized; you don’t just grab a shovel and start dig­ging.”

Shoring up the walls to any trench is right at the top of the pri­or­ity list dur­ing a trench res­cue.

“The last cou­ple of years we’ve been able to get all of the equip­ment that we need and we’ve got sev­eral peo­ple who are now des­ig­nated as trench res­cue tech­ni­cians,” Walker said. “Now we’re get­ting ev­ery­body else fa­mil­iar with what their jobs would be when we get on a scene.”

Ev­ery mem­ber of the Rome-Floyd County Fire Depart­ment is get­ting trench res­cue train­ing this week.

ABOVE: Allen Pip­pin (in the trench) gets help from Zack Owens (up­per right) reach­ing into the trench dur­ing a trench res­cue train­ing ex­er­cise. Ev­ery mem­ber of the fire depart­ment will go through the train­ing over the next two days.

Pho­tos by Doug Walker, Rome News-Tri­bune

LEFT: Rome firefighters start the first of three days of trench res­cue train­ing at the Fire Train­ing Cen­ter on North Av­enue.

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