News | 12/06/2022 Liebherr supports safety simulations at US operations

TRT member secures Hydrafusion struts under dozer bucket

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TRT members prepare for lift with Hydrafusion struts.

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Established in the late 1980’s, the Newport News Technical Rescue Team (TRT) has grown from 9 to 50 active members spread across the city supporting various emergency situations. TRT members not only serve the rescue squad, but are also active firemen in the city of Newport News.

The team ran multiple emergency drills in Liebherr’s equipment yard to simulate heavy machinery accidents and emergency scenarios. The scenarios included lifting a crawler excavator off a victim and lifting a wheel loader bucket off of a victim. To do these rescues the TRT used a combination of Paratech air bags, Hydrofusion struts, and hydraulic pumps that are rated to lift up to 40,000 lbs. each. These drills specifically allowed junior members of the team to see what it took to lift heavy equipment and allow for rescue procedures in real time.

Simulations like these are important to keep the rescue team prepared for any scenario they may face. “You get complacent doing the same drills over and over, and you go with what works instead of trying something new. Being at Liebherr allows everyone to use their thinking caps and work through the problem as a team with out preconceived ideas,” said Jason Carr, senior member of the TRT. Outside of heavy equipment rescues, the team also assists with other difficult rescues such as vehicle extraction, structural collapse, trench rescue and confined space rescue.

Why Liebherr

Liebherr was an optimal choice for these drills because of the amount of large, heavy equipment available on site. “Newport News is always growing and Liebherr equipment can be found on just about every jobsite in the area,” noted Carr. “Having team members familiar with equipment will give them a head start and possibly save minutes during the operation and avoid pitfalls of not being around the equipment everyday.”

Because of the success of the training, the Technical Rescue Team intends to schedule additional training this coming spring at Liebherr’s facility. The team performs regular in-house drills once or twice every three days and full shift drills every other month, but rarely does the team get the chance to perform heavy equipment rescue drills on the real thing. “This training is a good example of how we can all become safer by working together,” said William Boehm, Safety Manager at Liebherr’s Newport News campus. “Liebherr is always excited to work with community partners like the Newport News Fire Department and the Technical Rescue Team.”