Trench rescue training facility opens in Iowa

Oct. 11, 2023
NUCA of Iowa donated $52,500 to help construct the training facility for first responders.

A Trench Training Site in Urbandale, Iowa, will provide intense, realistic training for first responders who may be involved in trench rescues.

The Trench Training Site, located at Station 42 of the Urbandale Fire Department, came about following an incident in 2001 where department personnel rescued a local plumbing company employee trapped at the bottom of a 9-foot trench when the unsupported dirt walls gave way. The training facility was made possible in part by a $52,500 donation from NUCA of Iowa.

Contractor members of the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) assisted with the layout and design of the structure, which was built over several weeks during the summer. The contractors excavated the structure’s foundations, placed and filled the concrete wall forms for the multiple below-grade trench training structures, and supplied the precast manholes located around the facility. Contractors also installed the subdrainage system and the rock backfill, then performed final grading of the site.

“NUCA of Iowa’s membership not only led the way through its contribution to the new facility’s construction, but they also provided the labor, materials, knowledge, and experience to build the facility to the city’s innovative specifications,” said Doug Carlson, NUCA CEO, in a statement. “They should be very proud of their achievement to help keep their member’s employees safe on a jobsite.”

Read also: Procedures before rescuers enter a collapsed trench

Said Urbandale mayor Robert Andeweg in a statement:

“The site will play a crucial role in enhancing the safety and preparedness of our entire region. We are grateful for the generosity of NUCA and its members in making this project a reality.”

The facility represents a significant leap forward in ensuring the safety and preparedness of the region’s emergency responders, according to NUCA. It boasts advanced features and scenarios that allow first responders to simulate real-life trench emergencies, enabling them to train effectively and respond with safe precision.

“Trench safety is one of the single largest areas of focus for our members,” said Kim Frey, NUCA of Iowa’s executive director. “Our members and their hard-working employees recognize the inherent risks associated with underground utility work. NUCA of Iowa was proud to partner with the City of Urbandale to make this project a reality. NUCA of Iowa is especially grateful to our generous members who stepped up with not only monetary donations, but also with materials and services. We are beyond excited to have a facility like this in our region.”

Source: National Utility Contractors Association

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