Friday, June 18, 2010

Lakeside, Alpine and Viejas Fire Departments Train in Trench Rescues

Viejas: Woven throughout virtually every community are a series of underground utilities that at some point required a trench to place the equipment. Trenching operations for the most part are safe and typically don’t have disastrous outcomes, but for those operations that skirt current OSHA regulations, or trenching equipment is used improperly, the outcome can result in severe injuries or death.

Padre Dam Municipal Water District sent their vacuum truck capable of removing 12 yards of dirt per load. These trucks are considered important tools in trench rescue.
Till the late 1980’s fire agencies had little formal training on trench collapse, in many cases the rescuers would become additional victims. Statistically 25% of all victims are “would-be-rescuers.” This number includes co-workers and first responders that entered the trench and soon became trapped.

Santee Fire Captain David Leask demonstrates a set of Speed Shores.

So problematic were the issues that soon OSHA would mandate that “trench rescue teams” had to have mandated training, and that their rescue operations would meet the same industry standards that everyone was subjected to.

Lakeside Engineer Steve Schleif lowers a set of speed shores into a trench opening.

Soon the fire service responded by established formal training programs, and outfitting specialized teams that carried the unique equipment required at these operations. At some point in every firefighters career they receive this training.

A firefighter works on the lower strut inside of the trench. Room is a premium once inside of the trench.

Recently this complex training was made available to agencies on the eastern edge of the Central Zone (old Heartland Zone), through funding from San Diego Gas and Electric. Firefighters from Lakeside, Alpine, and Viejas were invited to participate in the two day training.

Viejas provided the site where a series of complex trenches could be dug to hold the training, and the Santee Fire Department supplied the instructors and technical expertise for the training. Currently the Santee Fire Department has an active confined space/trench rescue program jointly funded with the Padre Dam Municipal Water District.

Firefighters work to create a safe area where rescue operation can begin.

The two day class involved orientation to current OSHA standards that affect rescue operations, orientation to commercially available shoring devices, and improvised shoring operations. The last day crews spend the entire day in the trenches tackling complex shoring operations and  simulated emergency situations.

Two firefighters work a the bottom of a trench to remove a simulated victim.

The Lakeside Fire District would like to thank the following participants:

San Diego Gas and Electric - Provided funding for the entire training and related costs.
Viejas: For providing the training site and the hospitality.
Santee Fire Department: For providing the instructors and technical expertise.
Padre Dam Municipal Water District: For sending specialized equipment to the drill site.

Submitted By: Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

1 comment:

  1. Excellent description and pictures of your training sessions. Thanks for keeping us educated on what you guys do. Good work!