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Firefighters secure shoring for a trench rescue.The Cedar Rapids Fire Department has been busy training in March and April.  The Cedar Rapids Fire Department provides many professional services and program such as response to fire incidents, medical emergencies, and traumatic accidents, and special operations incidents.  Firefighters are also regularly conducting public education programs throughout the community.

Most recently the fire department has been engaged in special operations training involving trench rescue and swift water rescue.

Firefighters practice trench rescues on Bowling Street SW.The Cedar Rapids Fire Department responds to trench rescue and water rescues emergencies.  It is imperative that firefighters know what to do, how to size up and control the incident, mitigate the situation, and rescue people from dangerous situations. 

Cedar Rapids Fire Department has a 28E Agreement with partnering fire departments including the Marion Fire Department and Iowa City Fire Department for trench rescues.  All agencies have been trained to the same level in skills and proficiency and utilize the same style of rescue equipment.  In the event of a trench rescue in Cedar Rapids, the Cedar Rapids Fire Department can notify the other agencies if additional assistance is needed.  Once this notification is initiated, partnering fire departments will respond with personnel and equipment to assist in the emergency.

To conduct the trench training, the Cedar Rapids Fire Department had assistance in digging the trench. The Cedar Rapids Fire Department partnered with the Cedar Rapids Streets Department to dig a 12 feet by 5 feet wide “T” trench; the training took place off of Bowling Street SW in March.

Firefighters train for water rescues on the Cedar River.With the Cedar River running through the middle of our city, the fire department has personnel and equipment trained to assist if someone has fallen out of boat, fallen into the water, has become stranded on a sand bar, or a boat needs an emergency tow.

Each year fire department members work on boating skills and rescue maneuvers such as serpentine course, eddy turns, peel outs, holding position/rescue positions while in the water, swimming, “Go Rescues”, water survival and rope rescue skills in relation to water operations. 

The Cedar Rapids Fire Department started training early this year to get ahead of the swimming and boating season.  In fact, the majority of the department’s water rescue training has been completed for this year.   The Fire Department encourages citizens to enjoy area waterways safely.  The Department recommends U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation devices while on the water.

Members of the Iowa Urban Search and Rescue - Iowa Task Force One teamIowa Task Force 1 (IATF1) - Cedar Rapids Division, recently sent new task force members to Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, for a 10-day structural collapse rescue training in early April.

The training consisted of exterior and interior shoring, breaking and breaching of concrete, heavy lifting, and moving and burning of metal (torch work).

As the needs of IATF1 grow, so does the task force’s membership.  A large part of the team is comprised of Cedar Rapids Fire Department personnel.  In addition to Cedar Rapids firefighters, IATF1 has members from Davenport Fire Department, Iowa City Fire Department and Marion Fire Department.  Additionally, the team has several non-affiliated fire department team members working in positions as canine handlers, Information Technology (communications), and logistics.

Members of Iowa Task Force One shore a building during a training session.The new members added to the team are: Andrew Engelken (Cedar Rapids Fire), Travis Foster (Cedar Rapids Fire), Jesse Lennox (Cedar Rapids Fire), Cody Oberfoell (Marion Fire), Nick Thompson (Marion Fire), Rick Childs (Iowa City Fire), and Tim Recker (Iowa City Fire).

IATF1 has been in existence since 2003 after the Iowa Department of Homeland Security did a state assessment of emergencies from natural or man-made disasters.  Currently IATF1 has two divisions, which include the Cedar Rapids and Sioux City Divisions.

For more information about IATF1, please visit www.iowataskforce1.org.

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