One eastern Kentucky fire department is digging deep to learn the best way to save lives from the trenches.
The City of Pikeville Fire and Rescue recently held their annual training session on trench training, and officials say training can help save lives including their own.
On a hot day in Pikeville, the city's fire and rescue team learned how to save lives in what they say is one of the most extreme places: 12 feet under ground.
“It keeps us on our toes and sharpens our skills so that we can do a more efficient job,” says Randy Courtney, a firefighter.
Officials say the 3-day trench training session allows them to know the best way to rescue someone trapped in a trench. Courtney says the program started about 2 years ago after they noticed a steady rise in the number of people trapped underground.
Courtney recalls such an incident: “It was over at the hospital they were doing construction for the new building…they had a cave-in and stuff.”
Courtney says the worker walked away with only minor injuries, but it could have been a lot worse.
“It was a successful recovery for the guy. He broke his leg but it could have turned out really bad because the soil and everything was collapsing in on him,” says Courtney.
Officials say the program focuses on the safety for the victim and for them.
“After receiving this training and purchasing the equipment we are a lot safer. It is a lot safer on us and also the victim,” says Robert Lindsay, the Battalion Fire Chief.
Despite the heat, fire officials say the training went well.
“We've trained in all environments because we don't know what the weather is going to be like when we have a rescue,” says Lindsay.
Fire officials say they plan to train each year in the trenches.
Pikeville Fire and Rescue officials say they are one of the few departments in the state that participate in trench training.