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Bloomington Firefighters To Take Part In Second Trench Rescue Training
Updated September 22, 2015 7:54 AM
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(BLOOMINGTON) - The Bloomington Fire Department is taking part in its second trench rescue training, a vital skill for rescue operations in construction sites.

The training began Monday and will continue through Friday at the IU Campus Division Storage Nursery and Greenhouses (IU Nursery), 2210 North Headley Rd. A total of 15 firefighters will participate in the training. This training will bring the remainder of the tactical rescue team personnel current with this rescue discipline, and they will become certified after a written exam scheduled for October. 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. Prior to the training in the spring, the closest certified trench rescue teams were located in Indianapolis and Evansville. 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 second time BFD's tactical rescue team will be certified in trench training. The first trench training took place in March 2015 at Indiana University's Hilltop Garden and a total of 15 firefighters participated in the 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 the 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 received the first training in the spring, they joined 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.

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