Roco Rescue



Roco QUICK DRILL #2 - SCBA/SAR Proficiency

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Proficiency in the use of PPE is critical to the safety of rescuers. If you can’t protect yourself, you can’t save others!

1. Disassemble the major system components of SCBA and/or SAR system and place in a room in an unorganized pile.

2. Take groups or individual team members into the room and turn out the lights.

3. Instruct them to put the systems together and don the units before exiting the room.

This forces personnel to rely on their other senses to identify the components and put the systems together. The more an individual’s senses are involved in training, the greater the retention of key elements. It is also a good emergency drill for situations that may require a better understanding of PPE at a time when vision may be restricted.

We want you to make the most of every rescue practice session, so our Roco instructors have created "Quick Drills" that can be used any time you have a few minutes to practice with your team. In order to have a well-rounded rescue team, it is so important to maximize your training time and rotate the skills practiced to keep everyone interested and involved. Make sure you cover the basics as well as any techniques or special needs that may be unique to your response area. As always, practice, practice, practice! And, make sure you have the proper training and equipment to safely and effectively do your job.

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Hazcom 2012 & GHS: What Rescuers Need to Know

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

As an emergency responder, it is important to have a good understanding of the dangers and precautions regarding hazardous chemicals. Whether you’re a member of an in-plant industrial team or a municipal fire department, chemical hazards are always a critical factor in emergency incidents. That’s why it’s imperative to identify any particularly hazardous chemicals in your response area. Learn as much as you can, before the emergency happens.

The Time is Now
The first requirement went into effect in December 2013, which means that workers who use hazardous chemicals must be trained to understand the new Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). While employees must already have fluency, manufacturers of these products have until December 1, 2015, to switch over to the new format.

OSHA’s HazCom 2012 standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) was revised to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The changes make the information easy to understand across industries, countries and education levels. By adopting and enforcing one standard for labels and safety data sheets that accompany chemicals, employers, workers, health professionals and emergency responders will be better able to address the risks associated with these substances.

As in the past, the HazCom standard imposes certain requirements on manufacturers and importers of chemicals - as well as on employers whose employees can be exposed to chemical hazards in the workplace. The standard “applies to any chemical which is known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that employees may be exposed under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency.”

Note: This article addresses rescue teams that are subject to Federal OSHA requirements or State Plans operated in lieu of Federal requirements. In states that are not OSHA State Plan states, rescuers employed by a state or political subdivision of the state may not be subject to these requirements.

Q&A for Rescue Teams

Is my rescue team required to meet the HazCom standard?
For rescue services or in-house rescue teams in certain types of industrial facilities, the answer is normally yes. HazCom requirements would apply because team members are working inside the facility and can obviously be exposed to chemical hazards under normal working conditions or in a foreseeable emergency. For others, however, what appears to be a simple answer may not be that simple.

Is compliance required if we don’t work around hazardous chemicals?
The simple answer would seemingly be no, but that answer can be, and likely is, incorrect. In fact, the rescue team often needs to look no farther than its own cache of equipment to find the “hazardous chemical.” The reason the applicability of HazCom to rescue teams is often overlooked is because of assumptions that we make - in this case, rescuers often assume that the term “chemicals” means what we commonly think it means. But, as is often the case with regulations and statutes, words may be specifically defined to include or exclude certain things that common usage does not.

For example, under the HazCom standard, “chemical” means “any substance, or mixture of substances.”  “Hazardous chemical” means “any chemical which is classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified.” 

As explained by OSHA in its Guidance for Hazard Determination:

The definition of a chemical in the HCS [Hazard Communication Standard] is much broader than that which is commonly used. The HCS definition of chemical is "any element, chemical compound, or mixture of elements and/or compounds."

According to this definition, virtually any product is a "chemical." By this definition, it would mean that “air” is considered a “chemical” under the standard, and OSHA includes “gas under pressure” in its definition of “physical hazards.” Consequently, as one example, the rescue team needs to look no further than its SCBA bottles or its air source for supplied air respirators and charged airlines to find a “hazardous chemical” for purposes of the HazCom standard. Even facilities with comprehensive HazCom programs sometimes overlook their rescue team’s air sources in their programs.

As a rescuer, it's important to get familiar with the new formatting of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and the GHS symbols now. Make sure to review these standards in their entirety as well as your organization’s HazCom policies and procedures. You and your team will be more prepared as these changes are put into place.

Here's a quick guide to the new GHS symbols from OSHA, which will be required by June 1, 2015.

Note: These new OSHA pictograms do not replace the diamond-shaped DOT labels required for the transport of chemicals.



National Safety Council’s newsletter, “Safer Workplaces”

OSHA Fact Sheet – Hazard Communication Standard Final Rule

OSHA Quick Card – Hazard Communication Safety Data Sheets

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Rescue Toolbox: Webbing Adjustment Technique

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Here's a handy Webbing Adjustment Shortening Technique for adjusting webbing length when rigging litters.

To watch more safety tips from Director of Training Dennis O'Connell check out our YouTube channel. Keep checking back for more videos from Roco Rescue.

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Roco QUICK DRILL #1 - First 10 Minutes on the Scene

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Introducing Roco Quick Drills...     
We want you to make the most of every rescue practice session, so our Roco instructors have created "Quick Drills" that can be used any time you have a few minutes to practice with your team. In order to have a well-rounded rescue team, it is so important to maximize your training time and rotate the skills practiced to keep everyone interested and involved. Make sure you cover the basics as well as any techniques or special needs that may be unique to your response area. As always, practice, practice, practice! And, make sure you have the proper training and equipment to safely and effectively do your job.

First 10 Minutes on the Scene

During a rescue, there are opportunities when a team may be able to increase their efficiency and reduce their times significantly. One of those times is “arrival at the scene” to “hands on the patient.” This is the critical time when a plan is developed, equipment is set-up, and a rescuer is safely inserted to reach the patient.

  1. Pick a number of locations to perform confined space or high angle rescue scenarios. Keep the scenarios simple at first! 
  2. Have your team work with their equipment as it is currently stored and set-up for response.
  3. Give team members the scenario and have them start. At the 10-minute mark, stop the scenario. Document how much of the scenario the team was able to complete in 10 minutes.
  4. Debrief the team, and then ask questions such as, “What could you have done differently in your particular assignment to advance the team’s progress in this scenario in a shorter period of time?”    
  5. Evaluate the type of rigging used and the sequence in which it was performed. For example, were systems rigged in the order that they will be needed? Or, was time wasted on rigging that would not be needed until extraction of the patient? Was the team waiting for a high-point or tripod to be set-up before rescuers were inserted?
  6. Could equipment have been staged differently? For example, was equipment for the main and safety lines pre-rigged in an accessible layout and in sufficient quantities - or did the team have to search for more gear?
  7. Use this information to rearrange the team's equipment as needed. Could you pre-rig more items like packaging and hauling systems?
  8. Make the changes and repeat the scenario to see what works and what doesn't. Document how much was accomplished each time the scenario is repeated. After two or three repetitions, you should be able to hone the team's equipment requirements and reduce times.
  9. Next, move to a new scenario and repeat the process. Each time documenting the progress made and what was changed to improve performance.
  10. Be sure to document all input and changes agreed upon. Make sure these changes and improvements are incorporated in your team's operational planning.

Remember, the overall goal is to get a rescuer to the patient in a timelier manner while maintaining safety and efficiency. After streamlining the basic scenarios, you can incorporate more complex operations, such as adding SAR or other PPE requirements. With continued practice, you will see an improvement in how your team operates in the all-important first 10 minutes on scene!

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Register NOW for Roco's Fast-Track 80™ ProBoard/IFSAC Course!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Sign up now for Roco's first ProBoard course, Fast-Track 80™ . The course will be held on February 20-22 & 24-28, 2014 at the Roco Training Facility (RTC) in Baton Rouge, LA. There is an additional charge of $100.00 per student, and advance registration is required. Call us at (800) 647-7626 to register and reserve spaces or get more information.

This year Roco has a ProBoard/IFSAC option for select Roco courses conducted by the Carrol L. Herring Fire & Emergency Training Institute at the RTC in Baton Rouge. Students choosing the ProBoard option will complete both a written and skills exam. Upon successful completion of this certification process, they are then eligible to be entered into the ProBoard’s certification registry.

The ProBoard is an internationally recognized professional organization that represents the fire service and related emergency response fields. The ProBoard accredits organizations, such as Carrol L. Herring Fire & Emergency Training Institute, that provide certification testing to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) professional qualification standards. The International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) is a peer driven, self-governing system that accredits both public fire service certification programs and higher education fire-related degree programs.


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Tribute to Steve Hudson, President of PMI Rope, Inc.

Friday, December 20, 2013

It is with great sadness that we report the death of PMI President Steve Hudson. As a founding member of PMI, Steve was well known throughout the rescue industry for his vast contributions to the advancement of rope and rescue-related products. Truly a pioneer in the rescue field, Steve dedicated his life to creating better and safer products for rescuers. He also worked tirelessly to develop national standards to maintain this quality and excellence. His company and his family can be very proud. A special thanks to Steve and his co-founders at PMI Rope for giving Roco Rescue the opportunity to represent his innovative and lifesaving products for more than 30 years. For this and his many other contributions, we are grateful.



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Roco Announces Guardian Angel Contract

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Roco Rescue is proud to announce that we have once again been awarded the privilege to provide Combat Technical Rescue Training and Specialized Equipment Kits to USAF Pararescue as part of the Guardian Angel Technical Recovery Program.  Their dedication is reflected in their creed:

“It is my duty as a Pararescueman to save lives and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things I do, that others may live.” 

The Guardian Angel contract includes four Pararescue mission-specific rescue kits to include Confined Space, Structural Collapse and two Extrication Systems. In addition, Roco will provide a new sustainment program for Guardian Angel that will provide operator and maintenance training courses, replacement parts, and logistics support as part of the contract that runs through September 2018.

For those who may not be familiar with this special group of USAF personnel, here’s more… Pararescuemen, also known as PJs, are United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Air Combat Command (ACC) operatives tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. These special operations units are also used to support NASA missions and have been used to recover astronauts after water landings. They are attached to other SOF teams from all branches to conduct other operations as appropriate. They wear the maroon beret as a symbol of their elite status, and to symbolize the blood shed by past PJs, as well as the blood current PJs are willing to shed to save lives.

It is our honor to be of service to this elite group.

Visit Roco Tactical for more information.

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Input Deadline for NFPA 350 Fast Approaching!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

 Deadline: January 3, 2014. There's only about 30 days left to submit your input on the proposed NFPA 350 Best Practices Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work. If you are involved in any kind of confined space work or rescue (municipal or industrial), now is the time to offer your comments. While it is currently listed as a “Best Practices Guide,” that does not mean that at some point in the future it won’t possibly become an NFPA Standard. So, whether you agree or disagree, the time to offer your input is NOW!

Public comment will be accepted online until January 3, 2014. Go to In order to comment you must log in with your email and password - or you can quickly create an account.

Click here to download the PDF version. (Note: Download may take up to 3 minutes depending on your computer.)

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Suggested Operating Guidelines for Training

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Suggested Operating Guidelines (SOG) - written directives that establish a standard course of action on how a department intends to operate.

Most departments have SOGs for different rescue scenarios, but often overlook the importance of establishing procedures for safe training. A look at the stats reveals that while 10% of firefighter deaths occur in the line of duty, more than 7,000 injuries occur each year during training!

SOGs for safe training operations should be developed by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Each department has different needs, and the type of training can vary tremendously. Even interdepartmental training varies. Start by defining the who, what, where and when for your organization. Simple, but effective in establishing a comprehensive plan for safe training.


a. The Instructor
Who is allowed to conduct training? What qualifications do they need prior to conducting training? What training have they completed to make them a subject matter expert on what they are about to teach? Have they been trained to identify the potential hazards involved in the training and emergency procedures? Do they have the knowledge to identify the proper and needed equipment to do the training? Have they been trained to identify safe areas to conduct the training?

b. The Student
Who is allowed to participate in the training? (i.e., department members only, full duty only, physical requirements, prerequisites, etc.)


What type of training is to be allowed, and to what extent or level of training? What will be allowed as “in-service” training vs. what is allowed at the academy only? An example of in-service training might be “patient packaging and reviewing M/A systems,” while life-loading lines may be academy only – or only conducted when a designated instructor is present. What hazards are associated with the training and what precautions need to be taken? What laws and regulations are applicable to the training?


Where will the training be conducted? Classroom, apparatus floor, roof of firehouse, other field locations, training prop only? It is important that designated, approved, and pre-identified areas be established in order to conduct safe and effective training.


When will the training be conducted? What about refresher training? How often and when will training schedule cover all shifts and all personnel? Is weather a factor when scheduling? Off-duty training or not?

Next Steps - Organizing the Training Program

Lesson plans, outlines, and a system to qualify those who will be giving the instruction should be mandatory, especially when it comes to technical rescue training. Fire departments have a tendency to fall back on having the “experienced” guy train the “new” guy. Or, the line officer may be responsible for teaching a technique he is not totally familiar with. This works until somebody gets hurt. We all know that criminal and civil litigation issues can bury a department and its command staff.

Appoint a “Training Chief/Officer,” who can identify the department’s specific training needs, put a plan in place and keep the team on the training track. Identify risks, write solid lesson plans and operating guidelines, and create a solid schedule for training. Detailed outlines should be established for each skill/technique that is taught, and should be accessible to trainers, and trainees.

Send designated training officers to technical rescue courses that meet and issue certification to NFPA 1006. Note that most (if not all) rescue equipment comes with a warning from the manufacturer stating that “the enclosed literature on the use and care of this equipment is no substitute to receiving proper training.” Enough said.

Conducting safe rescue training procedures should be included in any good SOG. Establishing definite training protocols is the first step to avoiding injury or worse.

West Valley Fire's website has many sample Standard Operating Guidelines for download. Congrats to that department for putting their ideas out there, and sharing the info with the rest of us. 

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Horizontal Pick & Pivot Rescue Technique

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The video below shows a Horizontal Pick & Pivot technique taking place onboard the USS Kidd in downtown Baton Rouge, LA. The scenario took place this week, at a Roco open-enrollment class - Industrial Rescue III, and features students from Texas, Louisiana & Alaska. This technique is critical when performing a horizontal raise, when there are no available high-points.

This predominantly "scenario-based" course challenges individual rescuers (and teams) in a wide variety of confined space and high angle rescue exercises. With the addition of new and more advanced techniques, students will enhance their skills and teamwork abilities in numerous practice scenarios. As the problems progress in difficulty, students get a feel for executing an entire rescue operation from start to finish.

By placing specific time limitations on each scenario, Industrial Rescue III gives students the experience of "working under pressure," just as in a real emergency. You can see from the short video above taken by a chief instructor, Roco classes provide a thrill a minute. Great job guys!

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