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Firefighters, I&M team up to train for unusual emergencies

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

The South Bend Fire Department's Tactical Rescue Team and Indiana Michigan Power joined forces to conduct rescue and recovery training.

"We have several hundred underground manholes and vaults throughout South Bend. We want to be prepared in case there were ever a mishap in one of those," said Tracy Warner, I&M Communications Public Education Officer.

They recorded the exercise on a Go-Pro.

Captain Gerard Ellis with South Bend Fire says they treated the drill like the real thing.

"Call came in so you noticed the first engine company arrived on scene. Then they let dispatch know. And then the T.A.C.T. Team gets activated and they arrived," Ellis said.

Warner says this will help firefighters become familiar with responding to the small space I&M workers are in almost every day.

"We rely on the first responders such as the South Bend Fire Department to come to our assistance if we need and it's really important for them to know essentially what they're walking into. What's in these facilities? What's in the manhole and the vault?" Warner said.

Ellis says this knowledge is critical.

"Confined space has its dangers in itself. This one is extremely dangerous because of all the high voltage that's running inside the vault or in the manhole. It's kind of a high-risk, low-frequency type of a call," Ellis said.

All three tactical response teams will practice until it becomes second nature.

"You know, I mean this is a real life scenario. Other than somebody being injured, it doesn't get any more real than this," Ellis said.


The exercises will continue through Thursday morning. A total of 36 firefighters will go through the training.

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