Lexington Fire Dept. hosts collapsed building training for rescue teams

Lexington Fire Dept. hosts collapsed building training for rescue teams
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 5:20 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - From last year’s Surfside condo collapse in Florida to the sweeping tornados in Western Kentucky and, more recently, the historic floods in Eastern Kentucky, every one of those tragedies needed specialized rescue teams.

Thursday, several rescue teams from around Kentucky sharpened their skills through a controlled training of collapsed buildings. The Lexington Fire Department hosted the class.

In the scenario, two buildings collapsed when a tornado swept through. The 30 students in the class had to rescue people inside, shore up the building and use other techniques they have learned over the last seven days.

In a rescue, time is of the essence.

“They receive the scenario and then I have little things interject into that to increase the realism and the stress level,” said Brett Beach, technical rescue instructor. “Things like your generator runs out of gas and you have to mitigate that.”

In Central Kentucky, building collapses aren’t common, but the rescue techniques are used frequently.

“Well in the City of Lexington, I know for a fact has a lot of cars into structures in which they have to apply these types of skills, the lifting and moving and the shoring skills in that situation,” Beach said.

The training session keeps it as real as possible. The drill shows how to handle the dead. It’s something Beach encountered when he was sent to help search and rescue teams at the horrible Surfside condo collapse in Florida last year.

“Surfside was overwhelming in the aspect of the scope and the disaster itself,” said Beach. “Obviously, that’s where my training kicks in.

Search and rescue teams were needed in the Western Kentucky tornados and the Eastern Kentucky floods. Now search and rescue teams are needed in Florida after Hurricane Ian made landfall. A reminder of how these specific skills are needed at a moment’s notice.

We’re told two instructors from the Lexington Fire Department had to leave the training class to help with Hurricane Ian search and rescue efforts.