Categories: Projects

Outside the trench box: Using hydrovac for trench rescues


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In late February, Badger Daylighting’s team in Salt Lake City, UT, received a call from a customer facing an emergency: one of his guys was in trouble. He had been standing on flat, level ground six feet away from a trench when the earth gave way and pulled him into the trench.

When the Badger team arrived on site with one of our hydro excavation trucks, more than 30 firefighters and heavy rescue personnel were onsite working to free this worker, who was buried up to his armpit and pinned between the outside of a trench box and the soil that had caved in. He was struggling to get out but seemed calm.

Badger’s team, with the assistance of the onsite rescue team, began removing the soil and rock from around the trapped worker using our truck’s vacuum excavation tube. As Badger quickly removed the soil, the fire department set up cribbing and jacks to keep the earth from sloughing in.

Badger’s team removed soil for about 45 minutes and made enough progress that the worker was able to be safely extracted. Thankfully, he was ok and was able to walk on his own.

After the man was rescued, we were asked to stay for a de-brief with the firefighters and heavy rescue team. During the session, we learned that that the fire department had never trained on the rescue of someone on the outside of the trench box.

“Looking back on the incident, we are all grateful that he is ok. I have heard about the few times that Badger has been a part of rescue events like this, and I thought it would probably not happen to us. It was nerve-racking, but satisfying, to be a part of this knowing that our services assisted in helping a fellow construction worker,” shared Brian Parkinson, Badger Daylighting area manager in Utah.

The fire department thanked the team for their quick response, sharing that Badger Daylighting’s help was instrumental in getting the trapped worker out of the trench safely.

Outside the Trench Box

This story is one of several in which Badger Daylighting has had an opportunity to support local fire and rescue crews with events such as this. Hydrovac technology provides a safe, effective, and fast way to free individuals trapped in earth and debris. There are no charges for these emergency services.

Contacting a Local Hydrovac Team

In the event that your team is facing a rescue such as the one shared above, it’s critical to get a hydrovac team on site as early in the rescue as possible.

Fortunately, the Badger team is available around the clock to support in rescues and in the aftermath of natural disasters. And, with more than 140 locations and 1,400 trucks across the U.S. and Canada, we are well positioned to help.

Our recommendation is to get to know your local Badger team so you’ll know who to call if an emergency such as the one shared here happens on your watch. You can also call us for support at 877-322-3437.

Liz Peterson is Badger Daylighting’s vice president, North America operations – east. Badger Daylighting, and its parent company Badger Infrastructure Solutions Ltd., is North America’s largest provider of non-destructive excavating services. They work for contractors and facility owners in a broad range of infrastructure industries, including energy generation, electricity and natural gas transmission networks, roads and highways, telecommunications, water and sewage treatment, and general municipal infrastructure.

This article was originally published on the National Volunteer Fire Councils Website

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