An inside look at how firefighters prepare to save people in collapsed buildings

Firefighters in Hancock Country training in the event of a structure collapse. (WISH Photo)

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Firefighters in Hancock County are cutting through concrete and digging through a collapsed home this week.

It’s all part of a weeklong class on how to respond to a structure collapse.

The firefighters want to be prepared if a tornado rips through a town, a car slams into a home or a fire collapses a structure.

Sugar Creek Township Fire is hosting the course and Greenfield Fire is joining them.

“We’re only in the second day of this class and I’ve learned so much,” Greenfield firefighter, Anthony Evans said.

Tuesday, the class combined brains and brawn to move slabs of concrete that weigh around 2,000 pounds. The goal is to quickly break up the concrete and remove it without hurting anybody.

“Before, to walk up to a collapsed structure and look in there, I wouldn’t have had any idea what I needed to do to help somebody that was trapped in there,” Evans said.

The course is taught by members of Indiana Task Force One, a search and rescue team of firefighters and EMTs from across the state.

Steve Frye is an instructor who also works as a captain with the Carmel Fire Department and rescue manager with the task force.

“We really need to have guys that know how to respond to [structure collapses] because the fire department’s going to be called whether they know what to do when they get there or not,” Frye said.

Wednesday and Thursday, firefighters will learn how to provide support to a damaged structure. They’ll finish the training Friday after they rescue five dummies from a collapsed structure.

“I’m a lot more confident in myself and a lot more confident in the guys that I’m working with,” Evans said.

A Hancock County local donated the home to the Sugar Creek Township Fire Department specifically for the training. Last week, a group of firefighters went into the home and collapsed the structure to get it ready for Friday.

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