BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The Bismarck Fire Department took the opportunity to do trench collapse training at the Doosan Bobcat Acceleration Center.
Trench collapses are not very common, but it’s still important for firefighters to know what to do if one does occur.
“In the City of Bismarck, there could be 12 to 25 trenches open with there being construction going on whether its utilities, gas line, whatever, utilities need to be put in the ground,” said Captain Joey VanderVliet with the Bismarck Fire Department.
Even though North Dakota has had a rough winter and it can be difficult to train firefighters ahead of time for this, Bobcat is here to help.
The company has a temperature-controlled Acceleration Center Testing Grounds, which makes it possible to help prepare for high-risk situations, like a trench collapse.
“It trains us ahead of time to where something happens during the summertime when digging months are there we already have the mindset prepared to rescue somebody or have a body recovery in a type of trench collapse,” said VanderVliet.
For this trench exercise, firefighters will be working to try to get a mannequin out.
“In the trench that’s behind me, we have a victim that’s in the bottom. It is unfortunately a body recovery so our mindset is a little bit different. Whereas rescues are a little bit quicker,” said VanderVliet.
This may look like a slow process, but that’s because it is.
Trenches are extremely unstable, and it’s important to make the trench as safe and stable as possible before sending a firefighter in.
The Acceleration Center wasn’t originally built for this type of training, but Bobcat adapted the center to facilitate this training and is excited to help out the Bismarck Fire Department.
“We developed this initially to test Bobcat equipment and what a great partnership to have with the city and an entity in the city like the fire department which we depend on, to make their process more efficient,” said Matthew Sagaser, the director of innovation.
And Bobcat gives the department full range of the training center.
“We give them the facility to use it as efficiently as they need to. And then it benefits all of us. Cause we have a safer community and environment,” said Sagaser.
Officials with Bobcat say it’s great to be able to allow their facilities to help other departments whether it’s out in the trenches or in a classroom.