Fire department completes training

The Russellville Fire Department recently spent three days completing training in downtown Russellville that fire chief Joe Mansell said was some of the most comprehensive training he’s ever been a part of.

According to Mansell, firefighters with the RFD completed exercises that had them working in the drainage system that runs underneath many of the streets in downtown Russellville.

“The idea for this training came after two of our firefighters, Michael Hall and Shane Mansell, helped the city back in the summer when they were mapping out the drainage system underneath the roads so repairs could be made ahead of the roadwork being done on Jackson Avenue,” Mansell said.

“When our guys were underneath the street, they realized that there was the potential for an emergency situation to come up if there was ever someone under the street making repairs or doing other types of work who got stuck or had a medial emergency while they were down there.

“When they approached me about this concern, I thought it would be a good chance for us to get some confined space training in, as well as a real-life scenario emergency training.”

Mansell said they blocked off the intersection at Cotaco Street and Washington Avenue on Nov. 4-6 and entered the drainage system at that point.

“We had each shift go through the scenario that there was a person underneath the street who had been making repairs and had a medical emergency and could not get out,” Mansell said.

“We had a mannequin placed about 60 yards from the opening, and the guys had to be called out, had to come to the scene and ask all the correct questions, and then they had to go through the proper procedures both before the rescue attempt, during the rescue attempt and after it was completed.”

Mansell said it might seem like all the firefighters needed to do was crawl down the drainage opening and get to the mannequin, but he said there were many steps involved in this type of a rescue.

“You never know what kind of situation you’re going to be facing when something like this comes up,” Mansell said.

“The air in those pipes could be toxic, so we were able to get in training where they had to use the equipment that tests the air to make sure it’s safe.

“They then had to get on their air packs and their gear and crawl to the mannequin where they then had to take the proper steps to take care of the patient, get the patient on a stretcher, and get the patient out of the drainage system.”

Mansell said Doug Hatton and Shane Michael with the Fire College were on hand to help with the training and any safety issues.

“I appreciate Doug and Shane helping us with this training and I appreciate the city for allowing us to work downtown over that three-day period,” Mansell said.

“I really think this is some of the best training we’ve done. We were able to use a lot of equipment from our medium rescue trailer and work on a lot of our skills and techniques.

“I think all the guys did an excellent job. I’m proud of how they handled this situation. Thankfully, we’ve never had an emergency situation like this here locally that I’m aware of, but I know of other places that have, so it’s best to be prepared.”

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