Harlingen Fire Department undergoes trench rescue training

HARLINGEN — Elijah Parker climbed down into a 6-foot deep trench.

Parker and other Harlingen firefighters worked through the cold and rain during the trench training drill.

Parker was harnessed to a rope and with a small shovel in one hand scooped the dirt away from around the mannequin buried in the dirt.

But before Parker could get to the mannequin the crew of first responders worked together to cover the walls of the trench on both sides with plywood and hydraulic stabilizers.

The rescue drill took a little more than an hour.

“It was a standard rescue of a victim with an injury due to being unprotected in a trench that had collapsed,” Parker said.

Trench rescue training is a dynamic, technical training with state-mandated guidelines.

It involves rescuing or recovering an individual from a trench should it collapse, or rescuing a victim who “goes down” while working in a hole in the ground.

“The training is a lengthy process because we want to ensure that it is done safely and correctly during these rare incidents,” said Fire Chief Roy Rubio. “The Harlingen Fire Department consistently trains its staff so that HFD continues to improve upon the great service it provides to the community.”

More than 100 firefighters were required to participate in the trench rescue training conducted by the HFD training division.

The training took place over several days at the HFD training grounds.

The fire department has more than 20 certified trench technicians out of 109 firefighters.

“This is a training to help our firefighters on any rescue that is below ground level,” said Danny Warner, HFD deputy chief. “We had a simulated patient for training such as this.”