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Norwich Fire & Utilities Attend Trench Class

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

Throughout the last two weeks of August, each platoon took a 2 day trench rescue class alongside the Norwich Public Utilities Gas Division. Instructors from the Connecticut Fire Academy taught the class and explained the different hazards we may face. Each morning began with a classroom session followed by practical scenarios that were held at our emergency management facility on McKinley Avenue.

Members placed ground pads to disperse their weight leading up to the lips of the trench and then dropped a ladder inside. Following that, we learned how to safely drop the panels into the trench area where victims are located. Then we had to fill any voids using low pressure air bags and different size pieces of wood to make contact with the walls of the trench. The next step involved measuring and dropping the proper length struts down into the hole to shore up the panels.

NPU members brought a good amount of their equipment and showed us what they frequently use to shore up their trenches. In the event of a trench collapse within the City of Norwich, the firefighters and utility workers will work together to safely accomplish the tasks which are manpower intensive.

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RYAN FLAHERTYCorrespondent

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