FAIRFAX, Va. — 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.

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 9-foot trench when the unsupported dirt walls gave way. The 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 $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.

NUCA’s 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. Iowa member contractors also installed the subdrainage system and the rock backfill, finishing off the professional construction by performing final grading of the site.

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

Founded in 1964, the National Utility Contractors Association represents almost 2,000 U.S. utility and excavation contractors, manufacturers and supplier businesses who provide the materials and workforce to build and maintain our nation’s intricate network of water, sewer, gas, telecommunications and electric infrastructure.  

Visit nuca.com and nucaofiowa.com.