Members of the Chattanooga Urban Search and Rescue practiced on Thursday, using a heavy crane -- provided by Miller Industries – on rescue scenes. The USAR team responds to emergencies in a 10-county area that require special training and equipment, such as high-angle rescue, confined space and trench rescue incidents. On some of these rescue scenes, a big crane may be needed to move debris or heavy equipment, but it may also be very noisy at the scene and verbal communication may not be very effective. So the USAR team members practiced using hand signals to get the job done.
They also practiced setting up a “gantry,” which involves arranging a wooden frame with ropes and pulleys to lift heavy objects in a remote locations where vehicles like cranes can’t be used. Of the 35 students in today’s USAR class, about half were Chattanooga firefighters. The other students came from Bradley County Fire-Rescue, Cleveland Fire Department, Signal Mountain Fire Department, and two medical personnel from Erlanger Medical Center.
The training gets even more intense on Friday, when the team uses a donated house at 3407 4th Avenue in East Lake to practice collapsed structure rescue. The “action” is expected to begin around 10 a.m.
Using the wooden gantry, ropes and some strong backs, the firefighters manage to lift a heavy piece of concrete. It’s the kind of debris they may have to move following an earthquake or tornado touchdown
- Photo2 by Bruce Garner