AURORAS TRENCH RESCUE AND STRUCTURE COLLAPSE TRUCK

AURORA`S TRENCH RESCUE AND STRUCTURE COLLAPSE TRUCK

BY LIEUTENANT/PARAMEDIC KURT C. SCHLEGAL, AURORA (CO) FIRE DEPARTMENT


The Aurora (CO) Fire Department organized its technical rescue team (TRT) in January 1993. The team`s responsibilities, in addition to fire suppression and EMS, include heavy extrications involving air, rail, and vehicle accidents; confined-space incidents; high- and low-angle rope rescues; trench/building collapse scenarios; and water and ice rescues.

The team has 24 members, eight per shift. Two paramedics serve on each shift; the remaining team members are state-certified EMT-Bs. A paramedic engine, a heavy rescue vehicle, and the trench rescue truck, described below, are housed together.

Space limitations prohibited us from carrying shoring materials on the heavy rescue vehicle we acquired in June 1993. We, therefore, planned to purchase a vehicle or trailer to carry sheeting and shoring materials. Budget limitations, however, precluded our purchasing a vehicle large enough to meet our needs. As an alternative, the department`s chief engineer suggested using the old tiller ladder truck replaced by the new heavy rescue unit to carry the shoring supplies. In addition, the older truck could be used to train tiller operators without our having to take an on-line rig out of service.

The 52.5-foot-long and 8.5-foot-wide tiller apparatus consisted of a 1968 Pirsch trailer and a 1982 Pirsch tractor powered by a Detroit diesel engine. The city`s Fleet Maintenance Division removed the 100-foot aerial ladder, turntable, and outrigger from the tiller trailer. The truck was then put up for auction. The fire department purchased the truck back from the city`s Fleet Maintenance Division for $3,000.

RENOVATING THE TILLER

The TRT designed and executed the transformation of the tiller unit, except for some welding and fabrication work. A 6,000-watt Onan diesel-powered generator, salvaged from another damaged ladder truck, was mounted aft of the engine. Compartments and storage areas were modified, and the trailer was painted.

Now in service, the trench rescue truck has given us the capability to perform timber shoring operations. The truc carries the following basic shoring materials:

10 four-foot ¥ eight-foot ¥ one-inch Shoreform panels with two-inch ¥ 12-inch ¥ 12-foot attached strong backs,

six eight-inch ¥ eight-inch ¥ eight-foot timbers,

12 six-inch ¥ six-inch ¥ 10-foot timbers,

15 four-inch ¥ six-inch timbers,

20 four-inch ¥ four-inch timbers,

assorted 2 ¥ 4s, and

two-inch ¥ four-inch and four-inch ¥ four-inch wedge stock.

In addition to the lumber supplies, the newly converted truck carries ground ladders; a 5,000-watt, gasoline-powered Homelite generator; electrical cords; numerous hand and power tools; lighting equipment; and confined-space ventilation equipment.

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