State-of-the-Art Iowa Trench Rescue Training Facility Opens

NUCA of Iowa, City of Urbandale Supported Facility’s Construction

Trench safety is the top priority of the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) and the American utility construction industry. Intense, realistic training for first responders is required to support successful trench rescues, and a new Trench Training Site opened Oct. 6 in Urbandale, Iowa, will help play a crucial role enhancing the safety of industry employees who work in subsurface excavations and help prepare those in the state who are leading the rescue at any accident scene.

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NUCA of Iowa’s membership not only led the way through its contribution to the new facility’s construction, but they also provided the labor, materials, knowledge and experience to build the facility to the city’s innovative specifications,” said Doug Carlson, NUCA Chief Executive Office, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “They should be very proud of their achievement to help keep their member’s employees safe on a jobsite.”

“The site will play a crucial role in enhancing the safety and preparedness of our entire region,” said Urbandale Mayor Robert Andeweg. “We are grateful for the generosity of NUCA and its members in making this project a reality.”

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The Trench Training Site, located at Station 42 of the Urbandale Fire Department, came as a result of a harrowing incident in 2001 where department personnel rescued after five hours a local plumbing company employee trapped at the bottom of a nine-foot trench when the unsupported dirt walls gave way. The cutting-edge facility is poised to revolutionize training for emergency responders and construction professionals, offering a safe and realistic environment to develop and enhance critical rescue skills.

The Trench Training Site, made possible in part by a generous $52,500 donation from NUCA of Iowa, represents a significant leap forward in ensuring the safety and preparedness of the region’s emergency responders. The state-of-the-art facility boasts advanced features and scenarios that allow first responders to simulate real-life trench emergencies, enabling them to train effectively and respond with safe precision.

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NUCA’s experienced contractors assisted with the layout and design of the structure, which was built over several weeks during the summer. The utility construction workers safety excavated the structure’s foundations, placed, and filled the concrete wall forms for the multiple below-grade trench training structures, and supplied the precast manholes located carefully around the facility. Our Iowa member contractors also installed the subdrainage system and the rock backfill, finishing off the professional construction by performing final grading of the site.

“Trench safety is one of the single largest areas of focus for our members,” said Kim Frey, NUCA of Iowa’s executive director. “Our members and their hard-working employees recognize the inherent risks associated with underground utility work. NUCA of Iowa was proud to partner with the City of Urbandale to make this project a reality. NUCA of Iowa is especially grateful to our generous members who stepped up with not only monetary donations, but also with materials and services. We are beyond excited to have a facility like this in our region.”

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The event was attended by notable Iowa and industry members. Local U.S. Representative Zach Nunn, Urbandale Mayor Robert Andeweg, Urbandale Interim Fire Chief Mike Cardwell, NUCA CEO Doug Carlson, and NUCA of Iowa’s executive director Kim Frey attended the afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility.

Urbandale is located in the northwest suburbs of the state capitol of Des Moines, Iowa, and has a population of 45,000 residents.

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NUCA of Iowa’s Facebook page has several photos of the new facility and the Oct. 6 event.\