LAWTON, Okla._Lawton Fire Department is well-trained to fight fires, and is just as skilled in making risky rescues.
A group of firefighters spent Tuesday in a trench rescue refresher course at the Great Plains Technology Center. That gave them the opportunity to get some hands-on training with fire officials from OSU.
As with any rescue situation, safety is key. You never want a rescuer, to become a "rescuee". Tuesday's course helped to ensure all parties are as safe as possible.
Lawton Fire Department's Training Officer, Jared Williams, said with the numerous construction projects underway across the city, being well-prepared for trench rescue is crucial.
"Each and every day there's city crews and private contractors, they're digging lines or there's sewer construction. We have people going down below the ground and we need to be ready to assist them if something were to happen," Williams said.
Those trench rescue tactics were last implemented in 2008.
"A construction project going over on the west side of Lawton near 82nd Street. We had a gentleman who was collapsed about 10 to 12 feet down. We spent the next 14 hours rescuing the gentleman out of the bottom of a trench," William recalled.
"Since then, we've continued to sharpen our act, you might say, we've continued to make our firefighters, provide them more training where we can be sharper and better."
Not every rescue takes 14 hours, but Williams said it can take two hours just to stabilize the trench so they can send a crew into pull out whoever's trapped.
"Depending on how much of a collapse and how much dirt our patient is under...it can extend from there."
Williams said they do these courses annually to keep the fire crews on their toes.
"Safety is our number one goal. Not only for our people, but for everybody."