Fire Rescue Drill at Daryl Carter Parkway Keeps Crews Prepared

July 21 was no ordinary day at the Daryl Carter Parkway interchange project construction site. Construction crew members and the Orange County Special Operations Fire Rescue squad completed drill training to prepare for emergency incidents at construction sites.

Roberto Corchado, lead trainer of the Orange County Special Operations squad’s training division, and Kenny Wooten, a project superintendent, selected two training scenarios: a high-angle rescue and a crush rescue. “We were looking for things we don’t see on a daily basis,” Wooten said.

Construction crew members and engineers became actors. Then the stage was set with a crash dummy’s lower half crushed underneath a concrete pile and another hanging from a ladder located in a deep pit. The actors discovered the scene and called for help. The rescue squad arrived within minutes, saving both victims simultaneously.

The crash dummy dangling in the deep pit required a rope rescue response. The squad used ropes held by members above while one rescuer rappelled down into the pit. The rescuer carefully disentangled the dummy’s legs from the ladder and secured it with a rope. Rope pullers assisted the rescuer in lifting the dummy up and out of the pit.

The squad’s first attempt to remove the crush victim from beneath a fallen concrete pile involved an on-site construction crane and its operator. When the crane broke down (a planned curveball), the team quicky came up with plan B and brought out a high-pressure airbag. As the airbag lifted the concrete pile, rescuers used wood they gathered from the site to stabilize it with a technique known as cribbing. Applied together, the airbag and cribbing ensured a safe and successful rescue.

The final act for the day involved the construction team and Special Operations Fire Rescue Squad closing out the group with lessons learned from the event. The squad was able to complete its emergency response in 24 minutes total time, which was deemed a success.

“We’re constant learners. Those who don’t train [hard] don’t last long,” Corchado said.

Drills like this help ensure the Orange County Special Operations Fire Rescue squad is prepared to address a wide range of potential safety scenarios on active construction sites.