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Lexington Fire Department Holds Structural Collapse Rescue Training

Firefighters from across Kentucky are in Lexington this week for specialized structural collapse training. 

The course, run by the Lexington Fire Department, teaches personnel how to conduct urban rescue operations in and around collapsed buildings, particularly after a major disaster or terrorist attack.  For Thursday’s training, the participants practiced breaking through thick concrete using drills, chainsaws, and other high power cutting tools.  In the following days they will use this knowledge to conduct mock rescue operations. 

Captain Ryan Hogsten says the course, which is certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, pushes participants’ skills to the limit.

“We do about 10 hours of classroom and then about 70 hours of hands-on, so not only is it mental, but it’s also physical in strength .  These tools weigh anywhere from 20-150 lbs and usually one guy is working on them at any one time,” he said.

The class is only offered every two or three years because participants needed to complete over 300 hours of prior training to be eligible.  Hogsten says upon graduation, these firefighters will not only have specialized skills to contribute to their home departments, but with the sheer amount of training, they are considered to be among the best of the best. 

Chase Cavanaugh first got on the air as a volunteer reader for Central Kentucky Radio Eye, a local news service for the visually impaired. He began reporting for WUKY in February 2012, after receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.