Firefighters Learn Trench Rescue Techniques at Training Session

Mon December 18, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Georgia Utility Contractors Association Inc. (GUCA), with the help of its members and leading industry professionals, coordinated trench rescue training recently.

With the dangers of working in trenches and excavations becoming more apparent to construction workers GUCA is working to help educate and train county fire departments in trench rescue. Trenching accidents are extremely dangerous and complex, not only because of the time-sensitive nature of the situation, but also because of the lack of general knowledge surrounding rescue efforts. Expertise is essential when approaching a trapped person and many cases of multiple accidents are the result of unqualified co-workers attempting to save the victim.

Excavation work continues to be recognized as one of the most hazardous construction operations. Cave-ins are perhaps the most feared trenching hazards but other potentially fatal hazards exist, including: asphyxiation due to lack of oxygen in a confined space; inhalation of toxic fumes; and drowning. Electrocution or explosions also can occur when workers contact underground utilities.

OSHA requires that workers in trenches and excavations be protected and that safety and health programs address the variety of hazards they face.

Recognizing a need to provide trench rescue awareness and rescue training to West Georgia Fire Departments, Randy Williams of Randy Williams Grading Inc., contacted GUCA to coordinate a three-day trench rescue training program at his facility Oct. 30 to Nov. 1.

The first day of training involved classroom education, followed by hands-on trench rescue simulations the next two days.

More than 55 fire department personnel from Carroll County, Douglas County, Haralson County, Paulding County and Douglas County Water and Sewer Department participated in this three-day training course. The course addressed highly-specialized trench rescue skills, including how to perform trench rescues and the equipment and resources that are used in rescue efforts.

The following people helped with the training: Deputy Chief Bud Benefield, Carroll County Fire Rescue & EMA; Captain George Mann, Douglas County Fire Rescue & EMA; Lt. Ken Noel, Douglas County Fire Rescue & EMA; Jimmy Ball, Haralson County Fire Rescue & EMA; and Anita Fountain, OSHA Atlanta West Office.

A grant from the National Utility Contractors Association made this much needed trench rescue training possible.

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