Firefighters from across CT learn life-saving techniques during Trench Rescue drills in Waterbury

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut firefighters training to be ready — just in case an accident strikes for construction or utility workers on the job.

Crews from nearly a dozen departments across the state, including Waterbury, Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, and Fairfield all participating in Trench Rescue drills in the Brass City Wednesday run by instructors at the Connecticut Fire Academy.

Their mission — learn how to work together in case a worker falls in a trench and is stuck. They could be trapped in a situation where the walls of dirt start collapsing and caving in on them.

“The danger that happens to the worker is the dirt surrounds their body and puts pressure within their chest cavity and that worker will then stop breathing,” explained Steve Noreika, director of Training for the City of Waterbury.

Instructors say having many departments training together is significant.

“It’s always helpful if neighboring departments can work together because in a real incident like this, the chances are a single municipality isn’t going to have enough equipment or manpower to do an evolution like this from start to finish without requesting additional resources,” said Jordan Charney, an instructor with the Connecticut Fire Academy.

For some fire departments across the state, it’s required training every year.

“If your fire department has a technical rescue company this is part of the required training,” said Noreika.

On Wednesday, the crews were working together to secure a stretcher with enough rope so they could extract a mannequin from a trench that was eight feet deep. Training continues through the week and throughout the month.

They say trench rescues don’t happen often, but where this training is concerned, firefighters take a cue from The Boy Scouts — “be prepared.”

“Low frequency but high risk,” said Peter Ayoub, a Fairfield firefighter. “You always have to be ready for it.”

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