Photo by Elaine Rackley
Clayton firefighters work in conjunction with the Georgia Search and Rescue team.
Firefighters built wooden “shores” during training on a collapsed building, Thursday.
FOREST PARK — Some Clayton County firefighters took part in “specialized structural collapse” training this week.
The training for Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services firefighters began Wednesday, at a closed fire station located on Charles W. Grant Parkway. The training is scheduled to continue until Saturday, according to fire officials.
Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services’ special rescue team will work on searching and rescuing trapped victims in structures damaged in tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, violent storms and other emergencies, according to Barber.
The special rescue team operates as part of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s metro search and rescue team, he said.
The Clayton County special rescue team is a part of the Georgia Search and Rescue (GSAR). Firefighters train in four aspects of search and rescue: collapsed structures, rope rescue, trench rescue and confined space rescue, said Lt. Tommy Hattfield.
“Before we go into a collapsed building, we want to ensure the exterior is safe for our firefighters to enter the building,” Hattfield said. “We try to identify structural members that we can capture and re-direct the weight load of the building. We have to shore every four feet. We work within a four-foot perimeter shore that’s our safety zone.”
Hattfield said to “shore” a building, search and rescue personnel must to attach wood beams against the building to hold the building up.
“We enter collapsed buildings all the time,” he said. “For instance, if a car runs into a building. It can cause it to collapse.”
Hattfield said Clayton County firefighters have responded to numerous collapsed structures over the years. They have never had a firefighter injured while working on a collapsed building.
“The live drills ensure our safety when we go on these types of deployments or calls,” he added.
Hattfield said his agency has never had a firefighter killed in the line of duty in the history of the department.
“Anytime rescue personnel have the opportunity to train and prepare for the most dangerous of situations it’s a positive thing,” said Clayton County Fire Chief Jeff Hood. “We hear of victims trapped in the rubble of collapsed building being rescued days after an earthquake or storm. The effort to save those survivors requires great skill and knowledge to do it safely and efficiently. Getting our men and women this type of training is essential to ensuring they are up to the task if needed and at CCFES they are ready and we will continue to improve upon the solid foundation of their training.”