March 30, 2023 - It’s trench time for the Key West Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue team. This week the first responders are out near the Hawk Missile Site learning how to safely extricate an accident victim from a deep trench.
“This vital training for our department,” said Fire Chief Alan Averette, “but this also served double duty for Community Services. Their crews came out and dug these trenches. So both departments are benefiting.”
The USAR team is equipped and ready for just about anything imaginable -- and sometimes the unimaginable. The USAR team is an advanced rescue team trained and equipped to respond countywide to structural collapses, incidents in which victims are trapped, or in which there is a threat to the safety of first responders.
This week’s training session is USAR-certifying new firefighters and paramedics for the team. The training is being conducted by National Rescue Consultants.
The USAR team has rescued people trapped in buildings after hurricanes. They retrieved two victims in a construction collapse several years ago at Key West International Airport. They saved a man who was crushed under tons of concrete when a cistern cover collapsed.
The team is often called upon to remove medical patients who cannot be transported by normal means, whether it's because they're in a loft or just too large to be carried through a small doorway. The special equipment and expertise are sometimes called upon to enhance vehicle extractions after an accident.
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