Firefighters, EMS responders, rescue squad members and staff from B&G Foods in Yadkinville took part in an intensive training exercise on Thursday at the B&G Foods facility. High atop the silos used to store the baking flour, firefighters practiced saving a heart attack victim using a 250-pound dummy known as Rescue Randy.
Following that exercise, they moved on to practice a rescue in the confined space of a water pump station.
“We’re basically doing a mock rescue for confined space so that the fire department and the rescue service gets some practice in, as well as the added benefit they get use to our facility, that way if they did have to come out here in a real situation they could react much quicker,” said B&G Plant Manager Ryan Smith.
Smith said it was also good training for his staff as well, since they would be the first to be involved with any emergency situation happening on the property.
“I think it’s a huge benefit for the rescue squads as well as our employees,” Smith said. “Hopefully it never happens, but if it does, time is a critical issue, so it could save a life.”
During the confined space mock rescue, a B&G employee was sent down into a water pump station to retrieve Rescue Randy while the Yadkin County emergency personnel watched to evaluate their procedures. Once in the confined space, he yelled for help, something that was planned in advance as an additional training opportunity for the rescue squad. Squad members then began their own procedures to rescue both the original “victim” as well as the B&G employee.
Chris Bolden, Yadkin County operations manager, said it was a great opportunity for several emergency organizations — the Yadkinville Fire Department, Yadkin County Rescue Squad and EMS — to train together. Interagency cooperation is key during emergencies, Bolden said.
Yadkin County Fire Marshal Ricky Leonard said the training went very well and he was pleased. He said the emergency agencies and B&G staff learned a lot from the training and found areas which can be improved.
Leonard said he hopes to see more training events such as this one happen in other areas of the county so that other businesses and fire departments can have a chance to practice and make improvements in order to be more effective when real emergencies arise.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.