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Chattanooga Firemen train on campus

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A training program for Chattanooga firefighters brought 22 men and women to campus as they practiced Urban Search and Rescue from confined spaces, structural collapse or tunnel rescue. One exercise allowed teams of two to descend into a manhole in the parking lot of Maclellan Gym, where a “victim,” in reality a mannequin, awaited help.

“Air testing is done before the firefighters go down the manhole,” said Battalion Chief Moore. “We send someone down to check on the victim and to get a medical assessment. The person may have fallen off a ladder or be injured in some way. This all happens before the person is brought to the surface.”

Below the surface, there is nothing make-believe about the hot, stuffy, and cramped environment.

"We're glad to be able to partner with the Chattanooga Fire Department and provide this training site. It's just a different kind of classroom for us," said Chuck Cantrell, assistant vice chancellor for university relations.

There are several UTC employees who are certified to work in a confined space, defined as any space where atmospheric conditions are not certain; a space where there is a limited opening; or a space that is not fit for human life.

Partial funding for the Urban Search and Rescue Program was based on the Chattanooga Fire Department’s ability to be the lead agency on a ten county emergency response to emergency situations of this nature.

“This is a real-world environment, which creates an excellent place to train,” said Battalion Chief Moore.

June 16, 2006

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