Wooden supports, air struts, ladders, yellow helmets and a deep trench dug in red clay. Add in several rescue vehicles gathered on a property owned by the Town along Dobys Bridge Road, and passersby may have wondered if there was an emergency rescue in progress last month. In reality, the Fort Mill Fire Department was hard at work, learning some important lessons about trench rescues.
“Many may ask why the Fire Department needed to conduct this training,” said Fort Mill Fire Chief Chipper Wilkerson. “The Fire Department is the primary rescue team for the Town’s Utility department that works on water and sewer lines. Also, trenches have become extremely common with the amount of construction around Town.”
Wilkerson said the Town’s Utility Department and other construction crews work within specific safety guidelines while operating in a trench, but even with these safety precautions, a trench collapse is always a possibility. That’s why the Fire Department recently joined in the specialized training session.
“While trench rescue is not a frequent event, it requires special training and equipment for a safe rescue operation. While we hope a rescue never occurs, we must be prepared to respond to the incident at any time,” he said. “A big thank you is necessary for Town Administration and Fort Mill Town Council for funding this specialized equipment and training for the department.”