Lubbock Fire Rescue perfects trench rescue technique - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock Fire Rescue perfects trench rescue technique


At Fire Station One, in downtown Lubbock, a variety of training goes on in order to keep firefighters ready to go in emergent situations -- beyond responding to a fire. 

One of those major components is trench training for the swift water rescue team, which is a type of rescue that was used right here in the Hub City earlier this year.

The rescue happened on May 18 near the intersection of Avenue P and Cesar Chavez Drive at a construction site.

Lubbock Fire Rescue was called to the scene when a construction worker fell 15 feet into a drainage ditch inside a trench box, a scary situation that makes this week's training even more timely.

"They're doing their quarterly exercise. This quarter, they're practicing on shoring a trench, in case there is a trench collapse,"Kevin Ivy, with Lubbock Fire Rescue, said. 

In fact, Ivy knows all too well the dangers of a trench rescue.

"The national statistic is that 60 percent of would-be rescuers actually die in the trench with the person because the trench fully falls in on them at that point," Ivy said. 

Which is why 'shoring', or stabilizing, a trench is an important skill for members of the swift water rescue team need to master. 

"If somebody is ever caught inside of a trench that is more than 4 feet, by our procedures, by national standards you have to shore it up before you can go into it," Ivy said. "Shoring it up basically means basically putting a board on each side. Then after they get the boards in and they'll put in the hydraulic rams and these are actually air rams and then they will air them out and once they get a frame set up on each side of the victim, then they can put a ladder down."

However, Ivy says the danger isn't over once firefighters reach the victim.

"Once they get down in there, then they can start treating the victim while the rest of the team is actually building more trench, more shoring, so that they can get down in there safely with the person," Ivy said. " At that point, if they have to dig that person out, they will. If not, they'll package the person up and they'll get them up as fast as they can."

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