Firefighters, power crews go underground for training

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne firefighters and Indiana Michigan Power crews went underground Thursday to train in enclosed spaces.

A simulated vault rescue was conducted Thursday morning off Barr Street behind the Auer Center for Arts and Culture. The unique training was a collaboration effort designed to trade information about the protocols and practices and familiarize both firefighters and power laborers with equipment and the layout of the underground vaults and manholes.

The Fort Wayne Fire Department and Indiana Michigan Power partnered to conduct training in an underground enclosed space on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.

By training together, both I&M crews and the Fort Wayne firefighters will be better prepared to respond to an emergency situation in an I&M enclosed space.

“Indiana Michigan Power and the Fort Wayne Fire Department share a commitment to working safely,” said Tom Kratt, I&M Vice President of Distribution Operations. “Our No. 1 goal is to
prevent any possible situation that would involve a potential injury. But we also make sure that I&M and the appropriate public safety agencies are prepared to properly respond to those situations. I&M appreciates the opportunity to partner with the Fire Department to train for such a scenario.”

With nearly 400 underground structures in downtown Fort Wayne that house electrical equipment, I&M officials regularly work in vaults and manholes. Those employees require annual training and enclosed-space recertification, which includes CPR and first aid, officials explained.

Fort Wayne firefighters work underground with I&M crews on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, as part of an exercise to exchange information about protocols and practices as well as
become familiar with equipment and the layout of the underground vaults and manholes.