Rescue Task Force Trench Rescue Response
June 5, 2019

This afternoon, Station 47 (Lionville Fire Company) and Station 87 (Uwchlan Ambulance Corps) were dispatched for a rescue at a construction site on Norwood Road in Uwchlan Township. Information was being received that there was a subject stuck in a trench. A request for additional resources was made and the Chester County Rescue Task Force Trench Rescue Team was dispatched. Fame units responded as the Lead Agency for the Trench/Excavation Rescue discipline on the Task Force.

Initial arriving units found a subject trapped up to his waist in a sewer excavation. Crews made attempts to remove the victim but due to his location and the unstable soil conditions were unable to do so. Plans were set in place for a long operation.

CCRTF personnel and assets arrived on scene and placed ground pads and additional shoring, while technical rescue paramedics from Station 2 (Berwyn Fire Company) entered the space to evaluate and begin treatment. Due to soil conditions, two vacuum trucks were requested to respond to assist in soil removal. The victim remained conscious and cooperative throughout. An additional technical rescue paramedic was requested to assist as the incident progressed.

Members worked feverishly but deliberately, as the hours ticked by, and progress was slow. Additional resources were dispatched, including Rehab 55 (Good Fellowship EMS) along with the Chester County IST and Mobile Communications Unit and several ATVs. Task Force Leader Kevin Corcoran, in conjunction with Command, placed a request for mutual aid from the Montgomery County USAR Team. Shortly after these additional resources were mobilized, on scene technical rescue crews successfully made the rescue. The victim, secured in a harness, was hoisted from the trench and placed on a stretched around 5:00 pm where additional EMS providers continued treatment and transport to a local trauma center. Montgomery County USAR was returned. All personnel and CCRTF equipment were restored and units were released by Command.

This is just another example of a successful outcome due to regional cooperation and coordination and emphasizes the importance of getting the specialized people with the specialized training and specialized equipment moving as early as possible. Ideally, these resources can be sent at the initial dispatch.

The Uwchlan Township Police Department will investigate the incident.

Units: Rescue 53, Utility 53 with Collapse 53, Squad 53 with Trench 53.