Ready for the real thing: RCFD simulates heavy rescue drill at Civic Center

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Training is part of the gig for Rapid City Firefighters and Construction workers as they both prepare for real scenarios to ensure a quick response and a seamless effort.

Friday’s training was an opportunity for both the Rapid City Fire Department and Mortenson Scull Construction as the Civic Center expansion carries on.

The first dispatched call came out just after 10 a.m., “There is someone trapped under some concrete…repeating this is an exercise.” Soon after, the fire department flocked to the scene after construction workers reported someone was stuck in a trench.

“They’re going to get eyes on the scene, eyes on the patient and assess if they can get down there and relay the information to the trench rescue experts, which is station 7,” said Nick Carlson, Division Chief – Fire Operations for the Rapid City Fire Department.

Equipment is carried down into the trench and aid is immediately given to a patient stuck under a slab of concrete. So they formulate a plan to get him out – wedges supporting air bags to lift the slab, but a curveball comes at the crew after the ground is softer than anticipated after overnight rain.

“It changes a lot of things,” said Dave Richardson, Senior Project Manager at Mortenson Scull Construction. “We look at slopes and different elements as far as stability goes.”

In comes the crane to methodically lift the weight to free and treat the patient. Even though the patient is clear of the slab, the work to get him up the incline still has to be done.

Once that is crossed off the list, the team debriefs. Both the fire department and construction group agree the exercise went well.

“To get in and do these is great for everybody,” said Carlson. “To actually have a trench dug that they’ll be working in next week, and knowing that and being able to work in that scene, you can’t get that anywhere else. you can’t simulate that training scenario.”

“It’s more or less to test our readiness, not only from a construction team aspect, but also how we can assist and participate with the fire and rescue squad,” said Richardson.

As for the takeaways from the training, Carlson says he hopes the department can keep thinking on their toes to get their goals done.

“I hope they take that home with them and realize hey, there’s ten ways to do things,” said Carlson.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News