Collapsed Structure Rescue Training

Collapsed Structure Rescue Training

Members of the Smithfield Fire Department were trained in methods to rescue people trapped in collapsed structures. The training was held in Johnston over an eight-day period concluding on June 5. “It teaches them how perform rescues in collapsed buildings, anywhere from lightweight wood-frame buildings up to multi-story, heavyweight concrete buildings,” said Dennis Macedo, the President of the Board of Directors for SPEC Rescue.

“They’re learning emergency building shoring, they’re learning how to move heavy objects with cranes and with hand tools and airbags,” Mecedo explained. “These last two days they’re learning how to breach concrete walls, wood walls. They’re learning how to cut steel beams, how to operate in confined spaces to do breaches.” On the final day, the firefighters operated under a “real-time” exercise. Mecedo said that would involve a model of a collapsed building. The training will include everything that has been taught over the course of 80 hours. The training was made possible by a $680,000 grant from the Assistance to Firefighters grant program through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). “We’re putting together a Regional Technical Rescue Team for the Northern part of Rhode Island,” Chief Robert Seltzer said last April. “It’s going to be known as the Northern Rhode Island Mutual Aid Technical Rescue Team. We’re basically pooling our equipment among all the departments so we can roll out the door and get to an incident and not have to duplicate everything in every community.” There are seven different disciplines of training for the firefighters. They included Heavy Vehicle Rescue, Machinery Rescue, Rope Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, and Tower Rescue. The training exercises began in October 2023. Other departments which are also participating include Lime Rock (Lincoln), Woonsocket, Harrisville (Burrillville), Central Falls, North Providence, and Cumberland.

FEMA’s website says: The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations.

Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

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