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Structure Stabilization Part Of SF Fire Rescue Training

May 6, 2014, 4:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Structure Stabilization Part Of SF Fire Rescue Training

A school bus crashes into a home, knocking it off its foundation and creating an unstable situation.

"The bus has also taken out a load-bearing wall. In other words, the wall that holds up the weight of the roof. So, what we're doing is building a shoring system to capture the load from the roof," Fire Apparatus Operator Guy Burdick said.

It's a process Sioux Falls Fire Rescue knows well. Each crew member has been through a one-week course dealing with this exact scenario: making sure a building can stand on its own after a vehicle drives into it.

"We specialize in a lot of different things, whether it be hazardous materials or urban search and rescue, and this is part of the use of our program," Capt. Michael Koopman said.

Burdick says Sioux Falls sees more than its share of vehicles crashing into buildings, which emphasizes the need for the training and for everyone to keep up their engineering skills.

"You might see them looking at reminders on how to build stuff, how much the weights, with weight ratios, how much this type of shore can hold," Koopman said.

That knowledge is essential because situations can vary from scene to scene.

"You gather the equipment and being on scene and basically yeah, you've got to build that stuff on scene. You can't pre-do a lot of things," Koopman said.

In Tuesday's case, nobody was hurt or trapped inside the home, so all the crew members needed to worry about was keeping the home from collapsing.

"All we're dealing with here is a wrecked bus and some sheetrock. For us, it's basically just a matter of going ahead, stabilizing the situation, make it safe to work so the home owners can get back in there," Burdick said.

That work allowed crews to safely remove the bus from the home without anything else falling apart. It will also allow for the home owners to quickly begin their repairs.

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