SHERMAN, TX-After days of specialized training, Sherman firefighters put their new skills to the test by taking part in a trench rescue simulation.
Sherman firefighters said recovering a rescue dummy from a trench was difficult and time consuming. But now, they're ready for the real thing. Capt. Michael Earley spent 30 hours in trench rescue training.
"Today it's very hot down there, humid, no wind. It's a slow tedious job and it's just something that we have to practice because we don't get to do it very often. We have to refresh our skills on it," he said.
And Earley said it's a lot different from other rescue efforts he's been a part of.
"I think what you don't realize is how easy it is to get buried. You can step right in the side and the whole wall collapses on you. It's just being safe is a main thing that you have to worry about," he said.
"The issue of a trench collapse is if you had one, you're most likely to have two or more. If you're going to put first responders into a situation to try to rescue someone, we got to keep them safe as well."
Sherman division fire chief Thomas Brown said firefighters install panels in the trench to keep dirt from collapsing on them and the victim during the rescue, that alone takes some time which is an obstacle for them.
"That's the biggest issue that we face as first responders, we normally get in fast, get out fast and be done. On this type of training, we got to slow down, really think our steps through and do what's best for our guys and our victims in the hole," he said.
"Safety is always number one in the fire service no matter what. So what we do is follow several state and federal laws and recommended guidelines to make sure that crew members themselves are safe down there to effective rescue," said Taskforce 1 Training instructor, Jason Walters.
Brown said they've never had to rescue anyone from the trenches before, but they want to be ready because it's not a question of if, it's when.
"The City of Sherman and the fire department wants to stay proactive and keep our members as strong in education and ready to respond to any type of emergency that we may be presented," he said.