Trench Rescue Training Wraps Up For USAR Team

Friday, November 15, 2013
After shoring up the sides of the trench, much of the dirt was sucked out using HEPACO’s powerful vacuum truck
After shoring up the sides of the trench, much of the dirt was sucked out using HEPACO’s powerful vacuum truck
- photo by Bruce Garner

The Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team completed its final phase of training Friday with a simulated trench rescue incident on the property of the Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant. The USAR team, based in Chattanooga, is responsible for responding to technical rescue incidents, primarily in a 10-county area of Southeast Tennessee.

This final training scenario involved a deep trench that collapsed on a worker, burying him under a huge amount of dirt. It was up to the USAR students to figure out how to get to the “victim,” actually a mannequin, without becoming victims themselves. To do that, they had to secure the trench with lots of lumber and struts, and remove a large amount of dirt. After several hours of painstaking, dirty, back-breaking work, the victim was pulled from the trench. It’s a similar scenario to what happened back in 1998, when Darby Patrick was trapped under five feet of dirt for about 15 hours at a Highway 58 construction site. He was successfully rescued, but he unfortunately lost a leg and the road to recovery for him has been long.

When that incident occurred in 1998, much of the specialized equipment for trench rescues came from a response team out of Knoxville. Thanks mostly to federal grants, this region has its own specialized team, officially called Tennessee Task Force 4. The students in the training this week came from the Chattanooga Fire Department, Bradley County Fire-Rescue, the Cleveland Fire Department, Signal Mountain Fire Department, and two medical personnel from Erlanger Medical Center. HEPACO, an environmental cleanup company, and Chattanooga Public Works, also provided valuable assistance with this training.

Since Tennessee Task Force 4 was formed in 2007, approximately 180 firefighters have been trained to the technician level for the USAR team.

- Photo2 by Bruce Garner

Scenic City Lawn Mower Racing Association To Host 5th Annual “Get The Mowdown: Lawnmower Race For Autism”

On Saturday, May 3 at 2 p.m., racers at Savannah Valley Speedway, 10516 Hwy 58, Ooltewah at Goodner’s Equipment, will mount their specially modified mowers and race each other at speeds up to 60 MPH. The SCLMRA hosts several races at the Savannah Valley Speedway throughout the year. Barry Goodner, race coordinator, said “Lawnmower racing is a fun event on so many levels. ... (click for more)

Rep. Kevin Brooks Endorses Eric Watson For Bradley County Sheriff

Rep. Kevin Brooks has endorsed Eric Watson for Bradley County sheriff.  He released the following letter Tuesday. "As a member of The Tennessee General Assembly, I am proud to have served the citizens of Bradley County with my colleague and friend, Chairman Eric Watson, a man whom I proudly endorse in the upcoming sheriff’s election in Bradley County. "Eric Watson has ... (click for more)

Eric Williams Charged In Pinewood Avenue Slaying

Police have made an arrest in the slaying of Daniel Adams on Pinewood Avenue, charging a man who showed up at the hospital with a gunshot wound shortly afterward. Eric Fitzgerald Williams was charged with criminal homicide and filing a false police report. Williams entered Parkridge Hospital suffering from a wound to his head on April 3 - the same day as the Adams slaying. ... (click for more)

One Of "Worst Of The Worst" Gets 10-Month Federal Sentence

One of the men labeled as the "worst of the worst" in a Chattanooga round up was sentenced Tuesday to 10 months and three years supervised release after he plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Guy Wilkerson told Federal Judge Sandy Mattice, "I'm just a young father and I want the best for my kids." He said he apologized and that he knew what he ... (click for more)

What's Wrong With The City Recycle Program? - And Response (2)

Being new to recycling, I have lots to learn.  I rely on 311 and the attendants at the neighborhood collection centers to assist in building my knowledge.   Recently, I had an experience that makes me reconsidered my recycling efforts.  I loaded up my car, called 311 to verify what I could take, only to be blocked by the attendant at my neighborhood collection ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: That Billboard & Much More

Now that early voting has started and our strawberries have hopefully survived this last blush of winter, allow me to catch up on some things but, first, here’s a letter from a concerned reader I feel compelled to share: “There is something I have noticed throughout Brainerd, East Brainerd, Dayton, etc. A billboard has been put up, I believe by the Health Department of Hamilton ... (click for more)