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BP Rescue Team trains in Baton Rouge

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The rescue team from the BP deep water oil platform Nakika trained last week at the Roco Training Center in Baton Rouge. Pictured below is the team with Roco Instructors Russ Kellar and Keith Pridgen and Roco President/CEO Kay Goodwyn. The Nakika is only 8 miles from the Deepwater Horizon, the site of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Because of its proximity, the Nakika was used as a triage point for injured workers from the Deepwater Horizon. There’s no doubt, these emergency responders have been personally touched by this disaster.

The team has been together for about four years and were eager to talk about how dedicated they are to safety on their rig. In fact, the Nakika boasts a 2,500-day stretch without an incident or injury.

They also say they love the Roco Blog – thanks, guys, and safe travels back home!
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Largest Group Yet!

Monday, September 20, 2010

38 students representing 11 companies from around the United States participated in Roco’s Rescue I Plus class last week in Baton Rouge.

Here’s a class photo with our six instructors (from left to right) Bobby Kauer, Robert “Soup” Campbell, Mike Adams, Dwaynne Ardeneaux, Troy Gardner and Terry Addison. Also pictured is Equipment Manager Lisha Ezell (left) and Kay Goodwyn President/CEO of Roco (center). To date this was the largest class Roco has put on at our training center.




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Fort Worth Firefighters Quickly Switch Gears to Perform Trench Rescue

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tom Vines, rescue author, shares this incredible report posted on FireFighter Nation.

Firefighters often arrive at the scene of a rescue only to find that the situation is completely different from what the 911 call reported.

This was the case on June 2, when the Fort Worth (Texas) Fire Department responded to a 911 call that reported a fallen construction crane with persons trapped. Although this wasn’t exactly what responders found when they arrived on scene, the incident shows how with the right training and preparation, it’s easy to switch gears and successfully handle any situation.

Read more at FireFighterNation.com
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Firefighter and Worker Die in Confined Space Incident

Thursday, September 09, 2010

TARRYTOWN, NY (WABC) — A fire department official says oxygen levels were dangerously low in a manhole where a sewer worker and a firefighter died.

No cause of death has been established in Monday’s deaths of sewer worker Anthony Ruggiero and Tarrytown firefighter John Kelly. At firehouses throughout Tarrytown, there are the ceremonial displays that no department ever wants to have to put up: black and purple bunting and flags at half staff.

Inside the headquarters there’s a memorial for one of the fallen men, John Kelly. “Our prayers all go out to the families of these two men, who were doing their jobs,” Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell said. “One of them a firefighter, acting heroic and trying to save the other one.”

Ruggerio was trying to clear a backup of sewage as part of his full time job in the village’s Public Works Department. He was overcome by fumes and collapsed. Kelly had tried to save Ruggiero, but also the fumes overwhelmed him as well.

Assistant Fire Chief John McGee said Tuesday that a hazardous materials team measured the oxygen level at 14 percent. The normal amount of oxygen in air is about 21 percent. He said he did not know if other, deadly gases were detected. Those are life threatening conditions that may have taken the men by surprise.

Village Administrator Michael Blau said neither of the men who died had put on a protective masks before entering the manhole. He said autopsies were planned. The deaths were being investigated by federal, state and local agencies.

“It’s very, very sad,” resident Susie Poore said. “I’m speechless, because…I don’t know even what to say. I don’t know what to say, other than I must have said ‘Oh my God’ 100 times already.”

Both victims spent over 20 years as volunteer firefighters. Ruggerio was a supervisor in the DPW by trade. Kelly worked as a state Department of Transportation worker.
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Delayed Rescue Response Cited in Fatal Tunnel Fire

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Here’s another deadly reminder of the importance of a capable and timely response to confined space emergencies. Five people were killed in this fatal tunnel fire. According to OSHA, the case involving Xcel Energy and RPI Coating is not being tried until next year. After reading the official Chemical Safety Board report, here are some key findings…

    1. Did not have adequate technical rescue services standing by at the Permit Required Confined Space.       “911″ was listed on paperwork. Took the rescue team 1 hr and 15   mins to arrive at the site.
    2. Confined space was assessed as Non-PRCS even though the inability to self rescue and the introduction of MEK.
    3. RPI did not have an adequate confined space program.
    4. No hazard analysis was conducted.
    5. Not recognizing that 10% LEL or higher is an IDLH condition.
    6. Workers were located over 1400 ft away from where atmospheric monitoring was being performed.

Article below written by: P. Solomon Banda, Associated Press Writer

DENVER – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board slammed Xcel Energy Inc. on Monday for the company’s handling of the aftermath of a tunnel fire that killed five workers at a hydroelectric plant, as well as for a host of “troubling episodes.”

The board cited the electric and gas utility’s failure to cooperate in the agency’s probe and said that investigators had to turn to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Division in Denver to compel the company to turn over information. “Xcel Energy believes it has always cooperated and acted responsibly and continues to be fully committed to safety as a core value and an operational priority,” the company said in a statement.

The board, an independent federal agency that investigates serious chemical accidents and makes safety recommendations, plans to release its final report and recommendations Wednesday. That report comes about two weeks after Xcel decided to release a draft version after initially trying to block it. The company feared it would be released close to the criminal trial in the case, possibly influencing jurors.

Xcel, contractor RPI Coating and RPI executives Philippe Goutagny and James Thompson each are charged with violating U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. They’re expected to go on trial next year. The safety board said the report wasn’t complete that it had instructed Xcel to keep the draft confidential. Xcel also said it wanted to release the draft report because the company wanted to show that the board excluded findings of a gap in OSHA standards.

Xcel and the board are at odds over whether OSHA regulations were sufficient or clear enough to ensure worker safety. The board says the utility should have had a specially trained rescue crew on-hand in emergencies, rather than calling 911 as directed by Xcel’s plan. The tunnel fire started when flammable vapors ignited on a machine that was being used to spray a coat of epoxy sealant on a portion of a 4,000-foot-long water pipe, trapping five of nine workers inside the pipe.

Specially trained rescue crews didn’t arrive until an hour and a half after the fire started. Donald Dejaynes, 43, Dupree Holt, 37, James St. Peters, 52, Gary Foster, 48, Anthony Aguirre, 18 – all from California – ultimately died from smoke inhalation.

In the letter sent Monday to Xcel CEO Richard Kelly, the board said Xcel’s “unprecedented” legal action to block the report delayed its release and diverted resources from other investigations. “In the wake of the corporate responsibility concerns raised by the Big Branch Mine accident in West Virginia and the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, I strongly urge Xcel to renew its focus on safety and to swiftly implement the CSB’s recommendations,” wrote Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso.

This link is from an online magazine:
http://www.hazardexonthenet.net/article.aspx?AreaID=2&ArticleID=36075

This link is the official 145 page CSB report:
http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2010/0816/20100816_021722_Xcel%20Energy_Plant_Report.pdf
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How much training is needed for attendants on air monitoring equipment?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Reader Jeff Machen had a question concerning how much training to give attendants on air monitoring equipment; especially when they may only be working a week long shut down? Here’s our reply from CSRT Manager Bryan Rogers.

When you’re dealing with temporary labor, it is difficult to ensure that they are well trained on something as complex as atmospheric monitoring. We checked with several equipment manufacturers, and they don’t set a specific amount of training required, but leave it up to the customer’s internal company policy and/or person(s) issuing the monitor.

We also spoke to a few of our instructors who work at different plants and refineries. The majority of these companies require a company employee to perform the initial monitoring and then again after a break in work greater than 30 minutes. In addition, they review with the attendant what to look for and what to do if there are changes in the readings or an alarm sounds. One company provides a four-hour PowerPoint presentation on monitoring and attendant responsibilities.

OSHA does not indicate a time frame for this training either. However, it does require that persons be capable of safely performing the tasks assigned. Therefore, I would say your best bet would be to cover as much of the manufacturer’s instructions as possible along with reviewing the most common problems such as…

    - Calibration conversions
    - Turning on the monitor (or “field zeroing”) in the presence of contaminates
    - Negative LEL or negative toxic readings
    - Contaminated sampling hoses
    - Clogged filters

Lastly, I would stress to the attendants the importance of contacting a supervisor if they have any questions or concerns - and, if they get any unusual results from the monitor… “Do not hesitate to have everyone exit the space while the results are investigated!”
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Why does my Petzl ID snag and prevent me from taking up slack to the load prior to a lower?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Most likely the loaded section of the line is catching on the anti-error catch where the load line enters the body of the ID. This is a safety feature of the ID to prevent free-falling loads if the ID is loaded backwards. To prevent the rope from jamming, consider positioning yourself between the ID and the load facing the anchor. Hold both sections of rope oriented towards the load. Pull on the left section of rope while allowing the right section to drag through your hand. This will keep the rope clear of the anti-error catch." ~Roco Chief Instructor Pat Furr.

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Why does my trusty old Petzl ID allow rope to continue feeding during a lower or rappel even after I have locked it off in work positioning mode?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The answer may be in the description “trusty old”. The ID has a wear indicator cast into the friction bobbin. It is located at the top of the bobbin on the side of the bobbin that the swinging side plate is on. When in usable condition the wear indicator is visible as a slightly raised ridge about a half-inch long. If the wear indicator is not visible the bobbin is worn out and the ID needs to be taken out of service.

 Smart answer courtesy of Pat Furr

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Tim Robson, Chief Instructor/NM Site Manager

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tim Robson joined Roco full-time in 1996 after working as a professional firefighter and a member of the Heavy Rescue Team for the Albuquerque Fire Department. As a Chief Instructor for Roco, Tim teaches a variety of emergency response courses and has been instrumental in the development of our Trench & Structural Collapse Rescue programs. In addition to teaching, Tim leads our on-site rescue and safety services at Intel where he specializes in multi-tasking, from rescue stand-bys to confined space program management to leading safety meetings and the list goes on. Tim is also responsible for coordinating other Roco Stand-by jobs in this region.

Tim hails from Mandeville, Jamaica where the tropical heat prepped him for his current climate in New Mexico where he lives today. Tim spent 6 years with the United States Marine Corp, where he specialized as a Rescue Diver/ Rescue Swimmer. After his time in the military, he joined the Albuquerque Fire Department and served as a Rescue Squad Officer for FEMA’s New Mexico Task Force 1. Tim has participated in four deployments for FEMA, including the Pentagon following the Sept. 11th attacks. While at the Pentagon, Tim led a Rescue Squad whose charter included victim recovery, debris removal, and the shoring of the remaining, unstable structure. It was on this mission that Tim developed a new shoring system that was later adopted by trench and shoring pros within the organization (FEMA).

His inspiration for becoming a rescue professional?
It all started with his time in the good ol’ USMC. What kept him interested was the diversity – he trained as a Plane Captain, Power-plants Mechanic, and Combat Water Survival Specialist Instructor. Teaching others became an essential part of his skill set. During his service he was deployed to Egypt, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, the Mediterranean, Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. And he still liked being an instructor!

His best advice for the novice?
“Fast is slow, smooth is fast. No emergency is worth you not going home!”

What does he do for fun?
Tim says he likes to run, bike and play golf to unwind and release a little stress. He also enjoys time with his family.
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