ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – West County EMS and Fire said recent training was put into action Wednesday when responding to a call for a rescue in Winchester.

“So, confined space, boat rescues, water rescues—a lot of those get what you call rescue major responses. So, you’re getting all the right parts and pieces,” Deputy Chief Kelly Grassmuck, West County EMS & Fire, said.

Many people watched the coverage, but Grassmuck said what the public didn’t see was the training leading up to the rescue.

“We just so happened to select trench training for the second quarter of this year,” he said.

Grassmuck said the rescuers have completed two out of three trainings, meaning there is still time to add in elements from Wednesday’s rescue.

“When we do sets here, you’re dealing with prefabricated sides and all this other stuff. So, the sets here, when we set panels and we shoot struts and all that, it’s pretty clean. Yesterday, we had to modify a lot of that on the fly,” Grassmuck said.

One of those modifications could be the number of panels holding up walls of dirt. In training, Grassmuck said they typically use four or six; Wednesday they used two.

“There are things that we never really thought of, like how small these holes can be and just foundation work where you’re digging a hole out,” he said.

Grassmuck said another learning point was the equipment brought out for each rescue major.

“We had the vac truck tube running over the carport and then we had the flexible tube running to that and that is the first time I’ve ever used one on a call and it was invaluable,” he said.

Grassmuck said they’re thankful for Wednesday’s successful rescue.

“Climbed out and walked over to the stretcher. Given the high fatality rate in trench collapses, very lucky,” he said. “The large percentage of these, upwards of 85%, are not survivable. So, yesterday was a very good day all around for us and for him.”