Trench rescue team mobilizes
May 28, 2013
Major infrastructure projects in the county involving trench construction have encountered dangerous, in some cases fatal, structural collapses.
That has prompted formation of the North County Technical Rescue Team, made up of 13 firefighters from Atascadero and Paso Robles, now training for trench rescues.
Last week, the group simulated a trench accident rescue in a training exercise.
“It helps better prepare our personnel for an emergency of this type,” said Atascadero City Fire Engineer and training facilitator Tom Birkenfeld. “We were able to recreate a trench we could find at any number of construction sites, and utilize our training and equipment to successfully remove a trapped victim.”
A fully-equipped and specially designed trailer carries equipment to meet the team’s needs in a variety of technical rescue emergencies.
The group practices to deal with a wide variety of emergencies, such as high angle rescue, confined space rescue, trench and swift water rescue, earthquakes with building collapse, hazardous materials incidents, mass casualty incidents, airborne rescue support, large structure fires, and terrorism related incidents, wrote Atascadero Fire Captain Bill White in a release.
“If a trench collapse were to occur in the communities of Atascadero or Paso Robles, it is important that our technical rescue team have as much experience as possible so they can quickly and efficiently remove victims from the collapse,” said Atascadero Fire Chief Kurt Stone, who was at the drill.