The Pueblo West View

Emergency rescue drill held at dam

Crews took advantage of pipeline trenching to create trapped person scenario

Emergency crews from Pueblo and the surrounding area received some needed training Friday.

The Pueblo West Fire Department hosted a multi-agency trench rescue class at the Pueblo Reservoir Dam work site for the Southern Delivery System pipeline construction.

“Archer Western is the company digging trenches for the large pipeline, which will move water from the reservoir to Colorado Springs,” Brad Davidson, division chief of the PWFD said. “Archer Western approached us and asked if we would be interested in having some training since they would be digging these trenches and the Pueblo West Fire Department is the first response for this kind of emergency in that area.”

The drill covered a multitude of topics including the different types of soil being dealt with, proper shoring up of the sides of the trenches and the proper techniques for entering and exiting the trenches.

The training began at 9 a.m.

The first part of it dealt with becoming familiar with the tools and techniques of preparing the trench for rescues.

Once that was learned, crews ran a simulation of a real person being trapped in the trench with a practice dummy weighing about 185 pounds.

“They used fresh dirt to cover the dummy and then the crews went to work using all the things they learned and practiced early in the day,” Davidson said.

The emergency personnel shored up the sides of the trench and used ladders to enter it and successfully completed the simulated rescue in 40 minutes.

“While removing the dirt, in a real rescue, patient care would start immediately on the person,” Davidson said. “So there are many things going on during this entire operation. By doing this training today, it goes to show that numerous agencies can work together to accomplish the goal at hand and that is having a successful rescue.”

The PWFD asked other surrounding fire departments that have heavy rescue capabilities to come to the training.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department along with the Fort Carson, Fountain and Pueblo fire departments, and the Pueblo County Sheriff Emergency Services Bureau all participated in the drill.

“We want to thank them for participating and want to thank Archer Western for the use of the trenches and equipment,” Davidson said.

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The Pueblo West View