EAST LANSING, MI - From June 15, 2021 to June 17, 2021 the East Lansing Fire Department conducted their annual Trench Rescue Training with their metro partners at the East Lansing Public Works Building. The metro partners include the City of Lansing, the City of East Lansing, Meridian Township, Delhi Township, and Delta Township. Because of COVID-19, last year the training could not be conducted, so this year the Fire Department is happy to get back to training and working together.
On June 17, HOMTV caught up with Lieutenant Nathan Floyd of the East Lansing Fire Department to talk more about Trench Rescue Training.
“Most people think that Fire Fighters just fight fires. That’s inaccurate, firefighters also conduct trench rescue, collapse rescue, high angle rescue, structural tower rescue, hazardous materials, and we also do advanced life support.”
“Typically when we see an event like this, it could be a farmer digging in his field with an excavator, it could be Consumers Energy working at a gas line, or the water department fixing a water break.”
Trench Rescue is a “low frequency but a high risk event” so some firefighters are sent to a school which is a 40 hour class on the operations of trench rescue and another 40 hours to become a technician of the rescue.
It is not only important to make the trench safe for the victim(s) but also for the rescuers. When they are called to a scene, the rescuers first need information of how many victims there are and if any are injured. Then panels are placed on either side of the trench while dramatic air struts hold them in place to keep the trench from caving in. As soon as it’s determined safe, a rescue will be sent to evaluate the victim(s), and an idea will be put in place on how to extract the victim(s) from the trench. The whole process relies heavily on personnel.
“We have 20 people on the scene right now, it’s not enough, everybody has a job to do, so that’s why we have to rely on our metro partners. So that, if there is an event, we respond quickly and have the knowledge and the personnel at technician level to perform the rescue.”
“This is extremely labor intensive and the schooling is extremely expensive to send personal to it.”