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Bloomington Firefighters Learn Trench Rescue Training

Trench Rescue


Feb. 25, 2015

For more information, please contact:

Jayme Washel, Deputy Chief, City of Bloomington Fire Department, 812.349.3894

Alexa Lopez, Communications Director, City of Bloomington Office of the Mayor, 812.349.3406

Bloomington Firefighters Learn Trench Rescue Training

Bloomington, Ind.
- The Bloomington Fire Department (BFD) will take part in trench rescue training, a vital skill for rescue operations in construction sites. The training will take place from March 2 to March 6 at Indiana University's Hilltop Garden, 2367 E.Tenth St., and a total of 15 firefighters will participate in the training. The trainees will then serve as instructors for the department and teach trench rescue discipline to the rest of the team. Overall, over 30 members will be trench rescue certified by Fall 2015.

Trench collapses occur during new construction, when the ground opens up from excavation and has a high risk of caving in. These collapses result in the highest cause of death in construction accidents. Rescue teams need special training to handle people trapped in a trench collapse, and currently, the closest certified trench rescue teams are located in Indianapolis and Evansville. In the event of a trench collapse in or around Bloomington, certified rescue teams would take an hour or more to reach the trapped person, increasing their risk of death. By providing this service, the Bloomington Fire Department will become an efficient rescue team and will be crucial in saving lives.

This will be the first time BFD's tactical rescue team will be certified in trench training. The trenches used in training will range from 5 feet wide and 8 to 14 feet deep. In real trench collapses, many trenches could be upwards of 14-15 feet and most are likely to be 8 feet or more. The training is designed to practice the rescue of a City or construction worker whose trench collapsed or who encountered other such issues. Though the training is thorough, it is intended for the rescue of construction or worker personnel only. The purpose of this training is not only to expose rescue teams to trench rescue techniques, but also to update the team on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.

"A trench collapse can happen at a moment's notice in any community. Having a certified Tactical Rescue Team in Bloomington is a great asset for the community. It will contribute to ability of the BFD to save lives in the event of a collapse," said Chief Deputy Washel.

Chief Easton added, "This training will enable our tactical rescue team to be better prepared in the event of trench collapse rescue operations. The BFD is very fortunate to have this opportunity, which in turn will enhance our emergency response capabilities."

After BFD receives this training, they will join other certified rescue teams across the state in Evansville, Indianapolis, Fishers, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Lafayette. The training will be facilitated by a nationally-certified instructor.

For more information about the training, contact the Bloomington Fire Department at 812.349.3888.