While there is no such thing as an easy rescue, firefighters understand that some calls will prove more challenging than others. To ensure first responders know what to do when exposed to extreme situations, many fire departments provide firefighter training designed to prepare them for difficult scenarios.
Here are three examples of incidents firefighters may need to respond to and how they are being prepared for them:
For some construction workers, climbing into a trench several feet underground is essential if they are to work on pipes or electrical lines. Unfortunately, these holes in the ground can also become deadly traps for the individuals inside of them.
In North Adams, Mass., Fire Director Stephen Meranti told iBerkshires.com that people are working in trenches on a daily basis. For this reason, local firefighters need to know how to rescue those who have become trapped in these tight spaces. This past May, firefighters from around the state visited North Adams to participate in trench training. Many of these individuals waited for a long time to take part in this opportunity.
"There is a lot to it – I never thought that trench rescue would be this involved," Brent Lefebvre, a North Adams firefighter, told the news source. "If something does occur we want to be prepared. We want to be as prepared as we can."
During four days of training, firefighters learned how to treat a mannequin representing a trench victim, stabilize the dirt walls of these trenches and learn how to enter and exit the ground. With the knowledge and skills they acquired, these first responders will be better prepared to tackle calls centered around trench emergencies.
When an occupied building collapses, rescue workers realize they need to act quickly if they are to save the lives of those inside. However, they also require the training to ensure they know how to get people out of the rubble in a speedy, but efficient manner.
In Brunswick County, N.C., first responders from around the state gathered at a collapsed structure to learn how they would go about conducting a rescue, WECT6 reported.
"Collapse structure events are possible after hurricanes, tornadoes, gas explosions, any number of things," Anthony Marzano, the director for Brunswick County Emergency Services, told the news outlet. "So given that we don't have those that often, preparation and practice is key."
Firefighter training drills of this nature appear to work, as new firefighter Thomas Meighan believes he is a much better first responder thanks to this session. Now he knows just how much can go wrong with a building's structure.
There are times when automobiles become so mangled that their passengers cannot escape. During times like these, firefighters are often forced to resort to extreme measures.
In Maryland, several volunteer firefighters recently had a chance to learn about these measures through a joint car extrication drill, The Frederick News-Post reported. Those who participated in this session worked with cars donated from junkyards and towing companies. This allowed them to tear these vehicles to pieces.
"It's awesome … to work as a team," Jim Kilby, the Graceham Volunteer Fire Company fire chief, told the news source. "Everybody has the same training … everyone communicates, does what needs to be done and learns how everyone operates."
As firefighters removed roofs and shattered windshields using rescue tools, they learned how they would remove passengers of various sizes from wrecked vehicles. Should these first responders encounter cars that have been in head-on collisions, or rolled off the road, they will be ready to jump into action.