People in Iowa City may sleep better knowing their fire department is prepared to handle emergency rescues thanks to a material donation made by County Materials Corp. The Iowa City Fire Department took part in a four-day training exercise last fall, designed to enhance their technical response abilities in emergency rescues. The training involved moving, breaking and breaching large structures and debris that may result in a construction accident or disaster scene. Having the capacity and training to respond to technical rescues is a vital asset for the fire department in a growing city where construction is a constant reality.
County Materials’ Iowa City plant donated close to 150,000 pounds of precast concrete materials for the training exercise site. Donated materials include 112 feet of reinforced concrete pipe, along with various stock risers, intake boxes, flat tops, monolithic bases, precast cones, and concrete manhole lids.
Zach Hickman, captain of the Special Operations Response Team credits County Materials with making this training possible. “The concrete structures from County Materials allowed us to set up different configurations to simulate several scenarios. With the numerous pieces donated, our department will be able to rearrange the configuration and provide training for years to come.”
The training gave every member of the 64-person team hands on experience with technical rescues. Iowa City fire fighters simulated the rescue of a construction worker who was trapped by a heavy object during a construction project collapse; it required removal of rubble to access the victim. This hands-on experience makes a difference; the fire department serves an area with more than 70,000 residents and responds to nearly 5,000 emergency calls each year. The department’s small team specializes in technical rescues. As a result of the training and large quantity of donated materials, the team was exposed to more complicated scenarios and every member participated.
County Materials was quick to step in and help the fire department with their training needs request. Hickman acknowledges the swiftness by adding, “After the site was identified, and we met with County Materials to explain our training needs, they took care of the rest. County Materials made several trips to the site and off loaded the items with their equipment over the following weeks.”
The training took place at the fire department’s temporary training site at Mesquakie Park, in Iowa City. The department plans to move all the donated materials to a permanent facility once it opens. The facility will be located a quarter-mile from Mesquakie Park. Currently, the permanent facility does not have a scheduled start date for construction.