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Cookeville Fire Department Work On Cave Rescue Training

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Fire Department Work On Cave Rescue Training

Cookeville Fire Department conducted cave training this week as part of its ongoing emergency readiness efforts.

Lieutenant Jon Dukes said this week focused on navigating the caves to familiarize personnel with the area. He said they also worked on operating equipment within the caves.

“We keep our guys at a constant state of ready and believe it or not Cookeville does sit on a vast array of cave systems that run through the city,” Dukes said. “The 2021 cave data says there are over 10,000 caves in Tennessee, Putnam County is in the top ten counties, actually number five, for cave saturation.”

Dukes said the terrain is often muddy and wet due to lots of water runoff. He said the most significant challenge during a cave rescue is the lack of light.

Dukes said the fire department has conducted many cave rescues in the past. He said in those cases, they often partner with the Putnam County Rescue Squad and EMS for the medical side of rescue.

“We just want to make sure we are trained and we are ready for those situations that arise,” Dukes said. “We never want to play catch up in any type of rescue situation. So we put our best foot forward and try to get the training in ahead of time to try and be prepared for those kinds of situations.”

Dukes said the fire department conducts several different types of training every year. He said especially with some newer members on the team, they wanted to brush up on cave rescue protocol.


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