This past weekend, the members of the Kingsport Fire Department Technical Rescue Team conducted a Trench Rescue Course in Kingsport. The 21 member team, along with a few area responders, gathered at the old General Shale property in Kingsport to refresh their skills in the trenches. The Technical Rescue Team of the Kingsport Fire Department has 7 members on each shift that are ready to respond to any specialized rescue such as a structural collapse, high-angle rescue, confined space rescue, water rescue, or trench rescue.
Due to the majority of the members being veteran members of the team, the class moved at a fairly quick pace. The first scenario consisted of crews working in a straight trench with a sidewall that had partially collapsed. The crews set an outside whaler, and began lowering trench panels in after moving the spare dirt from around the edge to lay ground pads. The trench panels were secured in place using lumber and pneumatic air shores. Once the panels were set, inside whalers and cat-heads were used to allow the supplemental shoring to be added.
The second trench for the first day was an L-trench. The L-trench is a little more complicated as the inside corner is one of the most dangerous places in the it. The 6×6 whalers were lowered in and attached to each other using whaler caps. This allows the team to lower in the trench panels against the 6×6’s. The team also had to utilize a medium pressure airbag to fill a void space in the side of the trench. Once again, inside whalers were utilized to allow the team to use supplemental shoring (2×12’s) as they dig the patient out. The hydraulic ram was also used to spread the panels for the lumber to be secured in place.
The final scenario on Day 2 was the most complex of the course. The crews had a T-trench with a corner and sidewall that had collapsed. The crews split into two teams and operated as though the T-trench was 3 different trenches. The whaler caps were utilized on the missing corner to provide a support for the panels to be placed in. Once the panels were set, the voided area was backfilled to allow crews to safely work up top. All of the skills that the crews had familiarized themselves with on Saturday were once again put to use. The crews used hydraulic tools, air shores, and lumber to make the inside of the trench safe before working to remove the “victim.” The crews worked inside the trench to uncover the patient, package the patient in the stokes basket for removal from the trench.
Hard work was put in by all the individuals that attended the course. The temperatures were high and crews were able to hydrate regularly thanks to the Kingsport Life-Saving Crew. KLSC provided the entire class with snacks, drinks, and lunch during both days of the course. They also let the team use their equipment and apparatus during the course. The Kingsport Fire Department works closely with the volunteers of the Life-Saving Crew during specialized rescue training events and calls.