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Rescue workers get some heavy training

November 15, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

  • Heavy Truck Rescue Training slideshow

    HUYETTS -- Rescue workers from across Washington County spent the weekend training to handle accidents involving heavy vehicles.

    John Bentley, chief of the Washington County Special Operations unit, said 40 rescue workers from Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Maugansville, Community Rescue and Special Operations participated in the training, which was held at Interstate Towing off U.S. 40 west of Hagerstown.

    During the exercises, rescue workers practiced responding to accidents that required moving cement, garbage and tractor-trailer trucks off smaller vehicles. They also faced a scenario that involved rescuing a mannequin from a crushed van.

    Bentley said all of the training scenarios were modeled after actual accidents that occurred in Maryland.

    "These are the extreme accidents," Bentley said. "They don't occur every day ... These occur maybe twice a year."

    The simulations were made possible through a $7,000 federal grant, Bentley said. Participants also received instruction on handling hazardous materials. The training lasted four hours on Friday, and 10 hours each on Saturday and Sunday.

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Bentley said vehicles for the training were provided by Blue & Gray Towing of Hagerstown.

"(The vehicles) were totaled by insurance companies," Bentley said.

Maugansville Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Ian Swisher said he never had heavy-rescue training until this weekend.

"It teaches us new techniques," Swisher said. "It's not often we get to work on extreme circumstances. This gives us more knowledge on what we have to do."

Ray Franks said he hasn't responded to a large-vehicle accident since he became a Maugansville firefighter three years ago. The training, he said, would help prepare county firefighters for the day the real thing occurs.

"One of the biggest benefits is working as a team," Franks said. "It gives each of us from different parts of the county an opportunity to work together."

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